Rappler (portmanteau of the words "rap" and "ripple") is a Philippine online news website based in Pasig, Manila founded by Maria Ressa. It started as a Facebook page named MovePH in August 2011 and later evolved into a complete website on January 1, 2012.
|Founded||January 1, 2012|
Marites Dañguilan Vitug
Nico Jose Nolledo
|Maria Ressa (CEO and President)|
Glenda Gloria (Executive Editor)
Chay Hofileña (Managing Editor)
|Revenue||PHP139.47 million (FY 2015)|
|PHP-38.35 million (FY 2015)|
|Owner||Rappler Holdings Corporation (98.8%)|
|Parent||Rappler Holdings Corporation|
In 2018, agencies under the Philippine government initiated legal proceedings against Rappler. Rappler and its staff alleged it was being targeted for its revelations of corruption by government and elected officials, the usage of bots and trolls favoring Rodrigo Duterte's administration, and documenting the Philippine drug war.
With the idea of professional journalists using social media and crowd sourcing for news distribution, Rappler was started in 2011 by Filipino journalist Maria Ressa along with her entrepreneur and journalist friends. Brainstorming for the company began some time in 2010 when Maria Ressa was writing her second book, From Bin Laden to Facebook. Other key people involved in its conceptualization and creation were former Newsbreak head and ABS-CBN News Channel managing editor Glenda Gloria, journalist and Ateneo De Manila University professor Chay Hofileña, former TV Patrol executive producer Lilibeth Frondoso, Philippine internet pioneer Nix Nolledo, internet entrepreneur Manuel I. Ayala, and former Nation Broadcasting Corporation executive Raymund Miranda.
Rappler first went public as a beta version website on January 1, 2012, the same day that the Philippine Daily Inquirer published a Rappler piece that broke the story of (then) Philippine Chief Justice Renato Corona being awarded a University of Santo Tomas doctoral degree without a required dissertation. The site officially launched at its #MoveManila event at the Far Eastern University in Manila on January 12, 2012.
Coverage of fake news campaigns in the PhilippinesEdit
In 2016, Rappler began to be critical of the Duterte-led government of the Philippines, which had just taken office in 2016 and his controversial war on drugs after it noticed a trend of fake news related to him in media outlets of the state and private entities, and being spread on Facebook.
On 11 January 2018, the Securities and Exchange Commission revoked Rappler's license to operate as a "mass media" entity, for allegedly violating the Constitution's Foreign Equity Restrictions in Mass Media by being wholly foreign-owned. Rappler then sought a petition for review from the Court of Appeals on 28 January, but was rejected on 26 July 2018, finding no grave abuse of discretion on the part of the SEC. Many journalistic organizations and committees saw the act as intimidation and attempt to silence the opposition, and control freedom of the press.
On 26 October 2017, Rappler became a member of the Poynter Institute's International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN). This led to Facebook tapping Rappler and Vera Files in April 2018 to be its Philippine partners in its worldwide fact-checking program, in part because of their participation in the IFCN. Under the program, false news stories will appear lower on users' news feeds and lower the chances of people seeing those stories. The program, according to a Facebook executive, "is one of the ways we hope to better identify and reduce the reach of false news that people share on our platform." A spokesperson for the Philippine government backed the fact-checking program but protested Facebook's partnership with Rappler.
Mood Meter featureEdit
"Mood Meter" is a web widget embedded on each of Rappler's blogs and articles. It appears as colored bubbles showing the way people react to Rappler's stories. Readers are prompted to choose their response from eight different emotional reactions. The ten stories that received the most reactions in the last 48-hour period would appear on the Mood Navigator.
The Rappler Mood Meter, which is similar to Facebook Reactions, won the Bronze Medal for Brand Experience at the 2012 Boomerang Awards sponsored by the Internet Media Marketing Association of the Philippines (IMMAP).
Alleged ownership irregularities:
Many legal cases have been filed by various government agencies against Rappler since 2017; these cases are collectively considered by The Guardian and Reporters Without Borders as "judicial harassment." Among other cases are cases alleging ownership irregularities and tax evasion. Both Ressa and Chel Diokno, a human rights attorney who also represents Rappler, connects a statement made by President Duterte regarding Rappler's ownership during his 2017 State of the Nation Address to the outpour of legal cases against Rappler from all areas of the executive branch. If all of the cases filed against Ressa related to her management of Rappler up to June 18, 2020 were to result in guilty verdicts after final appeal, and the sentences were all to run consecutively, she would face around 100 years in prison.
Revocation of certificate of incorporationEdit
On January 11, 2018, the Securities and Exchange Commission of the Philippines (SEC) revoked Rappler's certificate of incorporation over Rappler's use of Philippine Depository Receipts (PDRs). It said that the provisions of the PDR issued to Omidyar Network by Rappler gave the American investment firm control over the local media firms' other PDR holders as well as its corporate policies, which the SEC says is a violation of the Constitution's provisions on foreign ownership and control. Rappler claimed that it was 100% Filipino owned and that Omidyar only invests in the media firm. Despite the certificate revocation, SEC stated that Rappler could still operate since their decision was not final, pointing out that the media firm could also challenge the decision before the Court of Appeals within 15 days. Malacañang Palace also suggested that Rappler authors can still continue to publish on their website as bloggers. On February 28, Omidyar Network donated its Rappler PDRs to the editors and executives of Rappler.
Rappler alleged that the revocation of Rappler's certificate was an attack against the freedom of the press. The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP) and the Philippine Press Institute (PPI) said the SEC ruling is part of a pattern of restricting criticism. The National Press Club of the Philippines, on the other hand, supported the SEC decision. Other groups such as the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism and the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility also expressed concerns about the revocation and press freedom in the country in general.
Members of the Philippine Senate and House of Representatives, mostly from the opposition, issued statements of concern, describing the SEC revocation of Rappler's license as "a loss for dissenting voices and free speech", "pure harassment" and "straight out of the dictator's playbook", and an "affront on press freedom." A law advocacy group called "CenterLaw" said the move was unconstitutional since the SEC denied Rappler due process. It also said the SEC's action was "tantamount to prior restraint" of "a known critic of the government's drug war."
The Philippine government issued a statement denying such a claim, pointing out that President Rodrigo Duterte could have used the armed forces to implement Rappler's closure, as done by various foreign governments, but had not resorted to such moves. The chief presidential legal counsel defended the SEC, saying the SEC's job was simply to punish violators of the law.
On March 8, 2018, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) filed criminal and tax evasion charges against Rappler Holdings Corp. before the Department of Justice (DoJ) for allegedly evading ₱133 million in taxes. Rappler's petition for review regarding the SEC's decision was subsequently rejected by the Court of Appeals on 26 July 2018, finding no grave abuse of discretion on the part of the SEC.
The National Bureau of Investigation of the Philippines subpoenaed Ressa and a former Rappler reporter on January 18, 2018, in connection with an online libel complaint filed by private entrepreneur Wilfredo Keng. The complaint was for a 2012 article that had reported that the then Philippine Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona had been using a luxury vehicle owned by Keng. The report also claimed that Keng was involved in human trafficking.
On March 8, 2018, the National Bureau of Investigation lodged before the Department of Justice (DoJ) a cyber libel complaint against Rappler and its officers (Maria Ressa, former Rappler reporter Reynaldo Santos, Jr. who wrote the story, and directors and officers Manuel Ayala, Nico Jose Nolledo, Glenda Gloria, James Bitanga, Felicia Atienza, Dan Albert de Padua and Jose Maria G. Hofilena) in connection with a news article published in 2012 wherein citing in the complaint stated that “Unlike published materials on print, defamatory statements online, such as those contained in the libelous article written and published by subjects, [are]indubitably considered as a continuing crime until and unless the libelous article is actually removed or taken down. Otherwise, the same is a continuing violation of Section 4 (c) (4) of the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012”.
Ressa was arrested on February 13, 2019, and spent a night in jail before being able to bail herself out. The arrest was criticized by opposition and journalist groups, seeing the arrest as being politically motivated. The trial began on July 23, 2019. Ressa and Reynaldo Santos, Jr. were convicted of cyberlibel by Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 46 on June 15, 2020, and sentenced to a maximum of six years in jail, along with being ordered to pay fines of ₱400,000 each. Human rights and media freedom advocates have characterized the court decision as a blow to freedom of the press and democracy.
After the verdict, Keng sued Ressa again for a different count of cyberlibel, this time over a tweet she wrote on February 15, 2019, which contained a screenshot of the 2002 Philippine Star article discussed in§ Santos Jr.'s article. Keng stated that by republishing the article "[Ressa] feloniously communicated the malicious imputations against me not only to her 350,000 Twitter followers, but to anyone who has access to the internet." Keng later withdrew the cyberlibel complaint after reportedly losing interest in the case.
On December 3, 2018, an arrest warrant for Rappler's founder Maria Ressa was sent to the Pasig police station, for alleged omissions in the VAT (value added tax) filings of Rappler, in connection with People of the Philippines v. Rappler Holdings Corp. and Maria Ressa (R-PSG-18-02983-CR). However, her arraignment in this case was suspended as she filed a motion to quash the information, and she was not arrested in connection with this warrant, as she posted bail in the amount of ₱60,000 the same day. As of January 2020, the case remains suspended, as the Pasig RTC has still not ruled on the motion.
On March 29, 2019, Ressa was arrested again upon her arrival at Ninoy Aquino International Airport from an overseas trip. The arrest warrant was issued by the Pasig RTC Branch 265 against Ressa in connection with yet another case she and members of Rappler's 2016 board are facing, this time for alleged violations of the Anti-Dummy Law (C.A. No. 108). Ressa posted bail in the amount of ₱100,000 the same day.
As of 2017, Rappler is owned primarily by Rappler Holdings Corporation, which is in turn owned by Dolphin Fire Group (31.21%), Maria Ressa (23.77%), Hatchd Group (17.86%), Benjamin So (17.86%), and 9.3 percent of minority shares.
|264,601||May 29, 2015||NBM Rappler*|
|11,764,117||July 29, 2015|
|7,217,257||October 2, 2015||Omidyar Network|
Controversies and criticismsEdit
- Rappler drew controversy and was criticized by Filipino netizens for the tone of its headline on the death of Eli Soriano.
- Rappler has been accused of plagiarism in numerous instances:
- In 2013, Rappler drew flak and received criticism when DZIQ radio journalist Erwin Aguilon accused them of plagiarising his photo. Rappler later apologized.
- In 2021, Gil Cabacungan Jr., a former Inquirer journalist and co-founder and co-owner of PRAGE Management Services (owner-company of tabloid Abante and websites Politiko and Bilyonaryo), accused Rappler of plagiarising a photo from the latter's article.
- "Media Ownership Monitor Philippines - Rappler.com". VERA Files. Retrieved October 12, 2017.
- "Maria Ressa future-proofs Rappler for digital challenges, names Glenda Gloria Executive Editor". Rappler. November 11, 2020.
- "Maria Ressa: The celebrated Philippine news boss enraging Duterte". BBC News. June 15, 2020.
- "MovePH". Facebook. Retrieved May 12, 2014.
- Ressa, Maria. "About Rappler". Rappler. Retrieved August 20, 2013.
- "Facebook attacked by critics over 'fake news' – but outside the US this time". CNBC. January 17, 2018. Retrieved December 6, 2018.
- Ressa, Maria (October 3, 2016). "Propaganda war: Weaponizing the internet". Rappler.
- Ratcliffe, Rebecca (June 15, 2020). "Journalist Maria Ressa found guilty of 'cyberlibel' in Philippines". The Guardian.
- Stelter, Brian (February 13, 2019). "What is Rappler, the website targeted by the Philippine government?". CNN.
- Terence Lee (May 21, 2013). "Philippines' Rappler fuses online journalism with counter-terrorism tactics, social network theory". Tech In Asia. Retrieved May 12, 2014.
- Colin Chan (April 2, 2012). "Interview with Maria Ressa, CEO of Rappler.com". TheNewMedia.com. Retrieved May 12, 2014.
- Arsenault, Adrienne (April 27, 2017). "'Democracy as we know it is dead': Filipino journalists fight fake news". CBC News.
- "The People Behind Rappler". Rappler. June 17, 2012. Retrieved May 12, 2014.
- "UST breaks rules to favor Corona". Philippine Daily Inquirer. January 1, 2012. Retrieved May 12, 2014.
- Natashya Gutierrez (January 12, 2012). "Rappler introduced at #MoveManila Chat Series". Rappler. Retrieved May 12, 2014.
- "The Facebook Dilemma – Part 2". PBS Frontline. October 30, 2018. Retrieved December 6, 2018.
- "In Re: Rappler, Inc. & Rappler Holdings Corporation SP Case No. 08-17-001" (PDF). Securities and Exchange Commission. January 11, 2018. Retrieved July 27, 2018.
- "Rappler not Filipino-owned and violated law, court rules". The Manila Times. July 27, 2018. Retrieved July 27, 2018.
- "Vera Files Fact Sheet: Facebook's third-party fact-checking program in PH explained". Vera Files. April 18, 2018. Retrieved April 19, 2018.
- "Facebook Launches Third-Party Fact-Checking Program in the Philippines". Facebook Newsroom. April 12, 2018. Retrieved April 19, 2018.
- "Roque to meet with Facebook on its 'unacceptable' fact-checking partners". CNN. April 19, 2018. Retrieved April 19, 2018.
- Salaverria, Leila B. (April 17, 2018). "Yes to FB fact-checkers, no to Rappler – Palace". Inquirer. Retrieved April 19, 2018.
- "Build Emotion Lexicon from the Mood of Crowd via Topic-Assisted Joint Non-negative Matrix Factorization" (PDF). SIGIR. ACM. July 17–21, 2016. doi:10.1145/2911451.2914759. Retrieved January 17, 2018.
- "Media curbs dent Philippines' reputation as vibrant democracy". Financial Times.
- Adrienne LaFrance (August 13, 2012). "In the Philippines, Rappler is trying to figure out the role of emotion in the news". Nieman Journalism Lab. Retrieved January 16, 2018.
- "How to use Facebook Reactions: How to react on Facebook". Tech Advisor. January 18, 2018. Archived from the original on January 18, 2018.
- Carlo Ople (September 14, 2012). "2012 Boomerang Awards Winners". TheNewMedia.com. Archived from the original on May 13, 2014. Retrieved May 12, 2014.
- "Philippines : Holding the line against Duterte's attacks". Reporters Without Borders. April 20, 2020. Retrieved June 19, 2020.
- "Rappler's incorporation papers revoked by SEC". ABS-CBN News. January 15, 2018. Retrieved January 17, 2018.
- "Subpoenas sent to Rappler's Ressa, Bitanga for tax raps". ABS-CBN News. April 17, 2018. Retrieved April 18, 2018.
- Rita, Joviland (June 16, 2020). "Maria Ressa contradicts Roque claim that Duterte values press freedom". GMA News Online. Retrieved June 19, 2020.
After the SONA in July 2017, Ressa said the first subpoena was issued against them. 'Within a few months in January 2018, we received a shutdown order, a revocation of our permit or license to operate.'
- "Duterte snipes at Rappler". Manila Standard. July 25, 2017. Retrieved June 19, 2020.
- Diokno, Chel (June 14, 2020). Forum on the cyber libel verdict against Maria Ressa, Rappler (YouTube live stream). Rappler. Event occurs at 10:49.
We fast forward to three years later, July 2017, the president now is Duterte, he issues a State of the Nation Address where he mentions Rappler and says that Rappler is fully owned by Americans. Soon after that, a week later, Rappler received its first subpoena, and then that became a barrage of cases.
- Moran, Padraig (June 18, 2020). "Facing possible jail time totalling 100 years, journalist Maria Ressa says she won't stop fighting for justice". CBC News. Retrieved June 18, 2020.
- "SEC revokes Rappler's certificate of incorporation". GMA News. January 15, 2018. Retrieved January 17, 2018.
- "Rappler's incorporation papers revoked by SEC". ABS-CBN News. January 15, 2018. Retrieved January 17, 2018.
- Cabuenas, John Viktor (January 15, 2018). "Rappler can still continue operating, says SEC". GMA News. Retrieved January 17, 2018.
- "Rappler reporters may continue to cover beats as 'bloggers' – Palace …". January 18, 2018. Archived from the original on January 18, 2018.
- "Omidyar Network donates investment to Rappler's Filipino managers". CNN. March 1, 2018. Retrieved March 2, 2018.
- "The Rappler-SEC Ruling: Corporate Issues, Politics and Press Freedom". CMFR. Retrieved March 2, 2018.
- "Press freedom not curtailed by SEC decision on Rappler — NPC". GMA News Online. January 16, 2018. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
- Bacungan, VJ (February 2, 2018). "National Press Club: We're not puppets of the Palace". CNN. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
- Johnson, Howard (January 17, 2018). "Why Rappler is raising Philippine press freedom fears". BBC News. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
- "PCIJ: SEC morphed from lenient to severe in deciding Rappler's case". GMA News Online. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
- Morallo, Audrey (January 15, 2018). "Senators: Rappler shutdown 'straight from Marcos' playbook'". Philstar. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
- "Roque-founded advocacy group slams SEC decision on Rappler". GMA News. January 16, 2018. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
- "Palace: No media censorship on Rappler – The Manila Times Online". January 17, 2018. Archived from the original on January 17, 2018.
- "SEC could have dealt with Rappler in 'non-draconian' measures: CMFR". ABS-CBN News. ABS-CBN News. January 17, 2018. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
- "Rappler Holdings charged with tax evasion". The Manila Times. March 9, 2018. Retrieved April 18, 2018.
- "Subpoenas sent to Rappler's Ressa, Bitanga for tax raps". ABS-CBN News. April 17, 2018. Retrieved April 18, 2018.
- "NBI Subpoenas Rappler CEO, Former Reporter Re Cyber Libel Complaint". CMFR. January 24, 2018. Retrieved April 20, 2018.
- "Rappler Holdings charged with tax evasion". The Manila Times. March 9, 2018. Retrieved April 19, 2018.
- "NBI files cyber libel complaint against Rappler". GMA News Online. March 8, 2018. Retrieved April 19, 2018.
- "DOJ begins probe into cyber libel raps vs Rappler". ABS-CBN News. March 26, 2018. Retrieved April 19, 2018.
- "CEO of Rappler, a media company critical of the Philippines government, is arrested". TechCrunch. Retrieved February 14, 2019.
- Reilly, Katie (February 21, 2019). "The Message Behind Maria Ressa's Cyber Libel Arrest". Time. Retrieved June 18, 2020.
- Leung, Hillary (February 14, 2019). "Philippines Journalist Maria Ressa Released on Bail After Arrest for 'Cyber Libel'". Time. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
- "Maria Ressa, head of Philippines news site Rappler, freed on bail". BBC News. February 14, 2019. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
- Cabato, Regine (February 13, 2019). "Top Philippine journalist and Time person of the year arrested on libel charges". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
- Ellis-Petersen, Hannah (July 23, 2019). "Philippines libel trial of journalist critical of Rodrigo Duterte begins". The Guardian. Retrieved June 18, 2020.
- "Philippines journalist Maria Ressa found guilty in high-profile libel case". Agence France Presse. June 15, 2020. Retrieved June 18, 2020 – via Deutsche Welle.
- "Fears for Philippines press freedom as court finds Maria Ressa guilty of libel". Reuters. June 15, 2020. Retrieved June 16, 2020.
- "Philippines: Rappler Verdict a Blow to Media Freedom". Human Rights Watch. June 15, 2020. Retrieved June 16, 2020.
- Davila, Karen (June 15, 2020). "READ: This is the statement of Wilfredo Keng after the court's verdict against Rappler's Maria Ressa & Rey Santos". Twitter. ABS-CBN News. Retrieved June 21, 2020.
- "Maria Ressa faces another cyber libel suit by same businessman over 2019 tweet". CNN Philippines. June 19, 2020. Retrieved June 21, 2020.
- Buan, Lian (June 19, 2020). "Keng sues Ressa for cyber libel anew over a 2019 tweet". Rappler. Retrieved June 21, 2020.
- Ressa, Maria (February 15, 2019). "Here's the 2002 article on the "private businessman" who filed the cyberlibel case, which was thrown out by the NBI then revived by the DOJ. #HoldTheLine". Twitter. Retrieved June 21, 2020.
- "Wilfredo Keng withdraws 2nd cyber libel case vs. Maria Ressa". GMA News Online. Retrieved June 1, 2021.
- "DOCUMENT: Arrest warrant for Maria Ressa in tax case". Rappler. December 3, 2018. Retrieved December 6, 2018.
- Talabong, Rambo (December 7, 2018). "Pasig court suspends arraignment of Maria Ressa". Rappler. Retrieved June 19, 2020.
- Elemia, Camille (December 3, 2018). "Maria Ressa posts bail for tax case at Pasig court". Rappler. Retrieved June 19, 2020.
- Buan, Lian (June 4, 2020). "LIST: Cases vs Maria Ressa, Rappler directors, staff since 2018". Rappler. Retrieved June 19, 2020.
- "Maria Ressa arrested upon arrival at NAIA, posts bail". GMA News. March 29, 2019. Retrieved April 5, 2019.
- "Rappler CEO Maria Ressa posts bail for anti-dummy law case". CNN Philippines. March 29, 2019. Retrieved June 18, 2020.
- "Media Ownership Monitor Philippines – Rappler Holdings Corp". Retrieved November 13, 2017.
- "In re: Rappler Inc. and Rappler Holdings Corporation. SP Case No. 08-17-001" (PDF). Securities and Exchange Commission. pp. 2–3. Retrieved January 17, 2018.
- "Rappler CEO Maria Ressa Tweet Taken Out of Context". Retrieved April 19, 2021.
- "Did Rappler really commit plagiarism?". www.marketing-interactive.com. Retrieved April 19, 2021.
- "https://twitter.com/gilcabacungan/status/1382969127795453954". Twitter. Retrieved April 19, 2021. External link in