Yesterday, Filipino journalist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Maria Ressa announced that the Philippine government plans to shut down Rappler, the news website she co-founded. The site has gained a global reputation for its reporting of President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody crackdown on illegal drugs.
The Philippines’ Securities and Exchange Commission affirmed its earlier decision to revoke the certificates of incorporation of Rappler, Ressa says. The Commission revoked Rappler’s license over what it ruled was a breach of a ban on foreign ownership and control of media outlets. However, fact-check group Vera Files reports that “all of [Rappler’s] owners are Filipinos.”
“Part of the reason I didn’t have much sleep last night is because we essentially got a shutdown order,” Ressa told an audience at the East-West Center in Honolulu.
Last year, Ressa became the first Filipino ever to win the Nobel Peace Prize. She and Russian Dmitry Muratov also became the first working journalists in more than 80 years to receive the honor.
Ressa is a featured speaker at this week’s East-West Center’s International Media Conference. She co-founded Rappler in 2012. The website is one of several news agencies deemed critical of Duterte’s policies.
Since taking office in 2016, Duterte has openly lambasted journalists who write unfavorable stories about him. He has especially bristled at critical coverage of his anti-drug campaign. His harsh crackdown has left thousands of mostly poor suspects dead and drawn international condemnation.
Politicians, journalists—and everyone!—ought always tell the truth. God reveals His opinion about truth-telling in Romans 1:18: “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.”
The Rappler shutdown order is dated June 28. “We are entitled to appeal this decision and will do so, especially since the proceedings were highly irregular,” a statement by company officials of Rappler Inc. says.
“We’re not shutting down,” Ressa says. “Well, I’m not supposed to say that.” A review of the website showed an article about Duterte posted Wednesday evening, Philippines time. (The Philippines is 12 hours ahead of U.S. Eastern Standard Time.)
President-elect Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., and Vice President-elect Sara Duterte—Duterte’s daughter—take office on Thursday. The pair won landslide victories in last month’s elections.
A Philippines court convicted Ressa of libel. She has remained free on bail while her case is on appeal.
(Nobel Peace Prize laureate Maria Ressa attends a news conference in Oslo, Norway, on December 11, 2021. Hakon Mosvold Larsen/NTB scanpix via AP)