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The ordeal of a Filipino journalist says a lot about the democratic state of the Asian country

Since his election as head of the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte’s tenure has been bloody, especially with his war on drugs, causing thousands of extrajudicial killings of sellers and consumers. But the climate is also unbreathable for the press, as the journalist Maria Ressa recounts in an interview with The Independent. The general manager of the Philippine news and investigative site Rappler told the English magazine that Duterte’s populist rhetoric was “As attractive as Hitler’s” by the hatred it conveys.

The journalist is a living example, having spent nearly 20 years working as an investigative reporter in Southeast Asia for CNN. As her team at Rappler uncovered a network of 26 fake news Facebook accounts that reached three million users before Duterte’s 2016 election, Maria Ressa faces up to 100 years in prison on charges infringement of press freedom.

The journalist is the subject of nine criminal cases of cyber defamation charges against her and is targeted by ten arrest warrants. What provoke torrents of hatred against him. When Unesco awarded him its annual prize for press freedom last april, the United Nations cultural agency said it received an average of more than 90 hate messages per hour on Facebook. “Almost half a million social media posts attacked me. 60% destroyed my credibility. That’s the point. 40% destroyed me. It was sexist. It was misogynistic. It was dehumanizing ”, added Maria Ressa, with threats of rape or death.

For the journalist, the charges against her are “Invented from scratch” and are formulated in response to its media outlet’s inquiries into the Bloody War on Drugs. For his part, Rodrigo Duterte has already described the media Rappler as“False information tool”.

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