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Ressa says Philippine courts must decide Rappler closure order

MANILA – Nobel Peace Prize winner Maria Resa says her Rappler news website is working “as usual” on Wednesday and will allow Philippine courts to rule on a government order to close the exit, which criticizes the outgoing Duterte administration and its deadly drug repression.

On Tuesday, the Philippines Securities and Exchange Commission confirmed the revocation of Rappler’s license for violating a ban on foreign ownership and control of the media.

The case is one of several against Resa and Rapler, seen as part of an attack on press freedom by President Rodrigo Duterte, who resigned on Thursday and will be succeeded by Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the eponymous son of the late dictator.

Ressa revealed the order to stop Rappler as she spoke Tuesday at the East-West Center in Honolulu. “Part of the reason I didn’t sleep much last night was because we essentially received an exclusion order,” Resa told the audience.

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She told reporters later in an interview with Zoom that Rappler would continue to assert its rights. “You have heard me say many times over the last six years that we have been harassed. This is intimidation. These are political tactics. We refuse to give in to them, “Resa said.

Rappler’s lawyer, Francis Lim, said the website has legal remedies to call into question the SEC’s administrative decision in court. “And we are confident that we will prevail at the end of the day,” Lim said in Manila on Wednesday.

“Rappler faces revenge from the government for its fearless reporting of drug abuse in the ‘war on drugs’, the use of disinformation by Duterte and Marcos on social media and a wide variety of human rights abuses over the past six years,” Phil Robertson , Human Rights Watch’s deputy director for Asia said in a statement: “This is an attempt to imprison Nobel laureate Maria Resa and imprison Rappler, with targets or fraud.”

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Resa and Russian Dmitry Muratov last year became the first working journalists in more than 80 years to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

Muratov’s Novaya Gazeta ceased operations in March after pressure from Russian authorities. It was the last major independent media outlet to criticize the government of President Vladimir Putin, remaining in Russia after others were imprisoned or blocked after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.

Ressa co-founded Rappler in 2012. Since Duterte took office in 2016, she has increasingly begun to report night police raids that have left hundreds and then thousands of mostly poor, petty drug suspects, dead in overcrowded morgues. Police said they acted in self-defense when officers shot dead alleged drug dealers. Few suspects were questioned about what human rights activists soon described as extrajudicial executions.

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Duterte and other Filipino officials said the criminal complaints against Resa and Rapler were not a problem with press freedom, but part of normal court proceedings stemming from their alleged violations of the law.

However, Duterte has openly criticized journalists and news sites that cover him critically, including the country’s largest television network, ABS-CBN, which closed in 2020 after lawmakers refused to renew its 25-year license.

As president and CEO of Rappler, Ressa has faced several criminal complaints about the website’s news operations. She was convicted of defamation in 2020 and sentenced to six years in prison, but remained on bail pending appeal.

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AP reporters Jennifer Sinko Keleher of Honolulu and Kiko Rosario in Bangkok contributed to the report.

Copyright 2022 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

Ressa says Philippine courts must decide Rappler closure order

Source link Ressa says Philippine courts must decide Rappler closure order

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