The National Democratic Institute (NDI) denounces the measures being taken by the Philippine government to silence Rappler, the country’s leading independent online news network and its chief executive officer, Maria A. Ressa. NDI joins human rights groups, independent media and international organizations around the world in supporting Rappler and Ressa in their ongoing work to protect independent critical reporting. “Democracy cannot live without the freedom of the press. The brave work of independent media is necessary to protect the truth and defend democratic discourse,” said NDI Chairman Madeleine K. Albright.
Rappler has been on the front lines of investigative reporting in the Philippines, including on the use of ‘trolls’ and ‘social media bots’ to distort the truth and disseminate false news. Under Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration, Rappler has been subjected to repeated attacks to stifle the work of its journalists. The Philippine Department of Justice’s announcement on November 9, 2018, to indict Rappler for tax evasion is the latest in the string of legal measures triggered by the Philippine government and brought against the independent news outfit since January 2017.
Rappler, a recipient of NDI’s 2017 Democracy Award, is one of the organizations at the forefront of the global battle to combat disinformation. Ressa, who accepted the award on behalf of the organization, spoke of the hard work and courage of her colleagues at Rappler: “We are journalists and we will not be intimidated. We will shine the light. We will hold the line.”
The National Democratic Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization working to support and strengthen democratic institutions worldwide through citizen participation, openness and accountability in government.