Philippines news site Rappler ordered to shut down, but owner Ressa says business ‘as usual’

Manila, Philippines Updated: Jun 29, 2022, 10:02 PM(IST)

Philippine journalist Maria Ressa Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

Ressa has been a vocal critic of Duterte and the deadly drug war he launched in 2016, triggering what media advocates say is a grinding series of criminal charges, probes and online attacks against her and Rappler. The latest blow was delivered by the Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission. 

 

After it was ordered to shut down by authorities ahead of President Rodrigo Duterte's last day in office, Philippine journalist Maria Ressa's news company Rappler was continuing to work "as usual", the Nobel Peace Prize winner said on Wednesday, as reported by AFP.

Ressa has been a vocal critic of Duterte and the deadly drug war he launched in 2016, triggering what media advocates say is a grinding series of criminal charges, probes and online attacks against her and Rappler. The latest blow was delivered by the Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission. 

In a statement Wednesday, it confirmed the "revocation of the certificates of incorporation" of Rappler for violating "constitutional and statutory restrictions on foreign ownership in mass media".

Rappler said the decision  "effectively confirmed the shutdown" of the company and vowed to appeal, describing the proceedings as "highly irregular". But Ressa was characteristically defiant, vowing the news site would continue to operate as they followed the legal process.

"We continue to work, it is business as usual," Ressa told reporters, adding "we can only hope for the best" under Duterte's successor Ferdinand Marcos Jr. 

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Marcos Jr, the son of the Philippines' former dictator who presided over widespread human rights abuses and corruption, takes over from Duterte on Thursday. Activists fear Marcos Jr's presidency could worsen the situation for human rights and freedom of speech in the country.

Human Rights Watch said the website was facing "retaliation for its fearless reporting". The International Center For Journalists (ICFJ) urged the Philippine government to reverse its order to shut down Rappler. 

"This legal harassment not only costs Rappler time, money and energy. It enables relentless and prolific online violence designed to chill independent reporting," ICFJ said on Twitter. The future of Rappler and its battle in the country's highly politicised legal system under Marcos Jr's presidency is uncertain. 

(with inputs from agencies)
 

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