After authorities in the Philippines ordered Rappler to shut shop, investigative news platform’s founder, Nobel laureate Maria Ressa, decried “highly irregular” proceedings and said the news organisation couldn’t count on the rule of law anymore.
Rappler has been embroiled in legal tussles ever since its credentials were first revoked in 2018, after the authorities claimed it had sold control to a foreign entity in breach of foreign ownership restrictions. Rappler denied its US investor funding was in breach of the law. In the latest ruling, the Philippines Securities and Exchange Commission upheld the previous decision saying the commission as well as the courts found that the revenue model was unconstitutional.
Rappler is among the few news platforms in the Philippines that are critical of President Rodrigo Duterte and his government. It has reported on Duterte's war on drugs, besides issues linked to misogyny, human rights violations and corruption.
Rappler is being shut down just as Duterte prepares to leave the office and is succeeded by his ally Ferdinand Marcos Jr, who won the election in May. Marcos is the son of the country’s former dictator who persecuted journalists, human rights activists and political opponents during his decades in power.
At The Media Rumble, organised by Newslaundry in 2018, Ressa spoke about press freedom, taking on the Duterte government and speaking truth to power.
Rappler said it will challenge the latest order in court. “We will continue to work and to do business as usual,” Ressa said on Wednesday, according to . “We will follow the legal process and continue to stand up for our rights. We will hold the line.”
Ressa, who co-founded Rappler in 2012, faces at least seven cases which she says are politically motivated.
Reporters without Borders currently ranks the Philippines 147 out of 180 countries on its Press Freedom Index, down nine places from 2021.