- Maria Ressa posted an article on the Financial Times, taking Pres. Duterte accountable
- It was posted after another cyber liber crime was charged against her
- The journalist mentioned Pres. Duterte and Mark Zuckerberg as the men whose “impunity” is challenged by investigative journalism
- She also shared the lessons she learned throughout her career, and they include embracing fear
Maria Ressa posted a new article blaming President Rodrigo Duterte for the constraints that investigative journalism faces in the Philippines.
On Saturday, December 5, the Rappler founder posted a writeup on the Financial Times that takes the Philippine president accountable for the current situation she and other journalists fighting the government are facing.
This follows after Ressa was charged with a second cyber libel crime by businessman Wilfredo Keng. As of now, the veteran journalist faces nine arrest warrants, which she all considered to be “politically motivated”.
According to Ressa, before Duterte took the highest position in the national government, Rappler, the news website she co-founded, was “hailed as an innovative news organisation”.
“All that changed in 2016, when Rodrigo Duterte was elected president on the back of a violent war on drugs that he launched as mayor of Davao City, and started to weaponise social media against those who criticised him.”
Besides Duterte, she also named Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg as among the two men whose impunity, according to her, is challenged by investigative reporting.
“Our investigative reporting challenged the impunity of two men: Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, which has let disinformation about the Philippines run wild, and Duterte, whose war on drugs has killed up to 27,000, according to human rights groups, without judicial process.”
Ressa continued to explain that it is "crazy" to fight a government. However, she wrote that it is needed in order to do her job.
The Filipino American journalist also shared the three lessons she learned from her battle. First, the position of strength she fights from is kept by being reminded of her mission and values. Second, she has to embrace her fear in order to shake the world, “create chaos” and “sow fear”.
"Whatever I’m most afraid of, I touch it, hold it, and embrace it. That robs it of its sting.."
The third lesson is that “silence is consent”.
“In my world today, it’s not an option to accept that it is OK to kill; to allow impunity to grow; to stay silent to avoid a vindictive government response.” she explained.
Ressa stated that they will keep giving the facts with the hope to create a community of action that can make power accountable and protect democracy.
Maria Ressa is the co-founder and chief executive officer of the new website Rappler. She formerly worked as a lead investigative reporter for CNN in Southeast Asia. She, together with her organisation, is known to be a top critic of the Duterte administration.
One of the criticisms that Ressa and Rappler continue to hurl against Duterte is the growing extrajudicial killing in the country. The recent issue triggering this is the murder of Los Baños Mayor Caesar Perez, which is alleged to be politically motivated.
However, despite the numerous negative feedbacks that many journalists have against the current administration, it seems that most Filipino citizens still support the government. Two months ago, Pres. Duterte even received the highest approval rating despite the pandemic issues. He is also supported by other celebrities, like Robin Padilla, who recently defended him against VP Leni Robredo through a viral letter.
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