Jun 28, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Maria Ressa: News organization Rappler ordered to shut down by Philippines government

A woman in a white suit clasps her hands together behind a lectern
Journalist Maria Ressa gives a speech at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony on Dec. 10, 2021, in Oslo, Norway. Per Ole Hagen/Getty Images

HONOLULU — Nobel Peace Prize laureate and journalist Maria Ressa said Tuesday that the Philippine government has ordered her news organization to shut down.

Why it matters: Ressa's Rappler has exposed Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's "bloody war on drugs" and documented the government's propagation of disinformation.

  • Ressa, a Filipino American, said in a keynote address at the East-West Center's International Media Conference in Honolulu that the Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission issued the decree Tuesday.
  • She said Rappler would fight the order, which "affirmed" an earlier decision to revoke the organization's certificates of incorporation.
  • "We’re not shutting down. Well, I’m not supposed to say that," Ressa said. "We are entitled to appeal this decision and will do so, especially since the proceedings were highly irregular."
  • The Philippine embassy in the U.S. did not immediately respond to a request seeking comment.

Catch up quick: Ressa shared the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize with Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov after using her platform to raise awareness of Duterte's alleged abuses.

  • She was previously convicted in the Philippines of "cyber libel" and could serve prison time in a case widely seen as politically motivated.

Of note: Ressa has been a vocal critic of social media platforms for failing to prevent the flow of falsehoods.

  • "Most people, they don't realize they're being manipulated, that these platforms are biased against facts," Ressa previously told Axios Editor In Chief Sara Goo in an exclusive interview published Tuesday morning. "You don't get facts. It's toxic sludge. Social media encourages anger, hate, conspiracy theories. There's violence," and it's getting worse, she added.

What we're watching: Whether the newly-elected president of the Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., takes a different approach when he takes office later this week. Ressa told Axios after her speech that the timing of the order is "not a good sign. But we've seen these signs before."

  • "Who knows what the new administration will do. If the rule of law wins, these cases [against me and Rappler] will be thrown out. I look forward to a new administration and their upgrading of the rule of law," Ressa told Goo.

Editor's note: This post was updated with new details throughout.

Go deeper