Rappler editor calls for vigilance amid threats, attacks on press freedom

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(FILE) Glenda Gloria, ang kasalukuyang executive editor ng online news website na Rappler (Kuha ni Mark Darius M. Sulit/ The Varsitarian)

A VETERAN journalist called for greater public vigilance, saying threats to press freedom in the Philippines were “more severe now.”

Glenda Gloria, managing editor of news website Rappler, sought to rally public support behind her organization, which, she claimed, was facing “intimidation and a pattern of attacks.”

Rappler CEO Maria Ressa is out on bail in connection with a cyber libel case filed by businessman Wilfredo Keng.

President Duterte earlier said he had nothing to do with the case, insisting he did not know the complainant.

Gloria, a journalism graduate of UST, said the attacks on her news organization “tell the whole world that the government is using its power and resources to actually muzzle the free press and intimidate critical thinking.”

The Securities and Exchange Commission earlier revoked Rappler’s license to operate, allegedly for violating the law on 100-percent Filipino ownership of mass media.

“Vigilance is needed especially during the dark days of democracy [and] shining the light is what the role of the press should be right now,” she told the Varsitarian.

“Without a critical eye, without the check and balance of power, the result is abuse of power.”

Gloria was the news editor of The Manila Times when it was forced to shut down in 1999 under heavy pressure from then President Joseph Estrada, who filed a P100-million libel suit against the publication.

The pressure on Rappler today, she said, also involved “the survival of the company itself.”
“This president is stretching it a bit too far,” she said, referring to Duterte.

Gloria said media, including the campus press, have an important role to play in educating the public so people “will [not] be swimming in propaganda.”

“To lose press freedom is to lose the power to correct government and to have a diverse community,” she said.

“We cannot just be living in a society that listens to one voice [and] you cannot have a generation that would be very successful if it is fed only with propaganda.”

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