Rappler ordered to shut down by Philippines government, says Ressa

Nobel Peace laureate Maria Ressa
Nobel Peace laureate Maria Ressa testifies on "The Assault on Freedom of Expression in Asia" during a US Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. Image: RSF/Saul Loeb/AFP​

Pacific Media Watch newsdesk

Nobel Peace Prize laureate and journalist Maria Ressa says that the Philippine government has ordered her news organisation Rappler to shut down, reports Axios.

The online news website Rappler has exposed Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s “bloody war on drugs”, documented the government’s propagation of disinformation and been critical of President-elect “Bongbong” Marcos Jr, son of the late dictator.

Ressa, a Filipino-American, said in a keynote address at the East-West Center’s International Media Conference in Honolulu, Hawai’i, that the Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission had issued the decree on Tuesday, reports Nathan Bomey.

She said Rappler would fight the order, which “affirmed” an earlier decision to revoke the organisation’s certificates of incorporation.

“We’re not shutting down. Well, I’m not supposed to say that,” Ressa said.

“We are entitled to appeal this decision and will do so, especially since the proceedings were highly irregular.”

Axios reported that the Philippine embassy in the US did not immediately respond to a request seeking comment.

Shared Nobel Peace Prize
Ressa shared the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize with Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov after using her platform to raise awareness of Duterte’s alleged abuses.

She had previously been convicted in the Philippines of “cyber libel” and could serve prison time in a case widely seen as politically motivated.

Ressa has also been a vocal critic of social media platforms for failing to prevent the flow of falsehoods.

“Most people, they don’t realize they’re being manipulated, that these platforms are biased against facts,” Ressa previously told Axios editor-in-chief Sara Goo in an exclusive interview published yesterday.

“You don’t get facts. It’s toxic sludge. Social media encourages anger, hate, conspiracy theories. There’s violence,” and it’s getting worse, she added.

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