NYT EDITORIAL: The War on Truth Spreads
Democratically elected leaders borrow from the anti-press playbook of dictators and tyrants.
A free and unfettered news media has long been anathema to authoritarian rulers, but even George Orwell might not have anticipated that some of the most unscrupulous assaults on press freedoms would one day be perpetrated by democratically elected governments. Witness these recent events:
Earlier this week Maria Ressa, founder of an online news site critical of the Philippine government of President Rodrigo Duterte, turned herself in to face charges of tax evasion on her return from receiving an International Press Freedom Award from the Committee to Protect Journalists. Mr. Duterte has long harassed Ms. Ressa and her start-up, Rappler, and other independent media critical of his murderous campaign against drug dealers and drug users. At one news conference, Mr. Duterte warned a Rappler reporter not to come to his hometown, Davao City, because “something bad will happen to you.” Davao is thought to be home to the most vicious of Philippine vigilante bands, the Davao Death Squad.