Philippines: Critical news portal has to close - Bark Sedov
Philippines: Critical news portal has to close

Philippines: Critical news portal has to close

Philippines: Critical news portal has to close

Status: 06/29/2022 12:35 p.m

It’s a muzzle for a Nobel Peace Prize winner: Rappler, the government-critical news portal in the Philippines, is threatened with closure. But the editor-in-chief reacts calmly.

The news portal Rappler in the Philippines is to close, the news site itself announced. The Philippine stock exchange regulator had withdrawn important licenses from the company on Tuesday because it was supported by foreign investors. That violates the constitution.

Editor-in-chief Maria Ressa reacted calmly and announced that she would fight back. “We continue to work,” said the journalist. Everything is as always. “It’s like quicksand when you can’t rely on the rule of law.”

Criticism by Human Rights Watch

The decision cannot yet be appealed, said Francis Lim, the news portal’s lawyer. However, Rappler will exhaust all available legal options.

“Rappler faces government retaliation for his fearless reporting of abuses in the so-called war on drugs and a host of other abuses over the past six years,” said Phil Robertson, vice president of Asia at Human Rights Watch. The government absolutely wants to silence Ressa and Rappler.

The Philippine Union of Journalists called for resistance to the attack on press freedom.

They are known for their critical reporting: a Rappler employee speaks to the editor-in-chief, Maria Ressa.

Image: AP

Numerous lawsuits against Rappler

Ressa co-founded Rappler in 2012. In the past, the news portal had sharply criticized President Rodrigo Duterte for his deadly anti-drug war and called him to account in the media. Since 2017, more than 7,000 people have died because of the anti-drug war.

The news portal had to live with numerous lawsuits, searches and threats of closure for its criticism of the president. In a statement to his employees, Rappler said: “This is normal for us, we will adapt, adapt, survive and grow.”

Ressa received the Nobel Peace Prize

Because of her work, Ressa has also been threatened, arrested and charged. In 2020, she was sentenced to at least six years in prison in a defamation trial. She received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2021 for her “efforts to protect freedom of expression”.

President Duterte’s term in office ends on Thursday. He cannot stand for re-election. Then Ferdinand Bongbong Marcos will take over the post in the Southeast Asian country.

The son of the former dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. won the elections in the Philippines by a landslide in May – also thanks to an extensive and historically falsifying social media campaign. The news portal Rappler had also reported critically about it.

With information from Lena Bodewein, ARD Studio Singapore

Philippine government closes news portal Rappler

Lena Bodewein, ARD Singapore, June 29, 2022 11:46 a.m

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