Senators Condemn Philippine Government Move to Close Rappler, Stifle Free Speech

Washington (June 29, 2022) – Today, Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations East Asia and Pacific Subcommittee, Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), released the following statement upon the announcement that the Philippine government has ordered the shutdown of news website Rappler, co-owned by journalist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Maria Ressa.

“We are deeply troubled by the latest actions of President Duterte’s outgoing administration to stifle independent voices, like Maria Ressa and Rappler, who are not afraid to shine a light on government abuses,” said the Senators. “The inauguration of President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. will be an opportunity to reject the repression of the past, release Senator Leila de Lima, and embrace policies that support the rule of law and a vibrant free press in the Philippines.”

Maria Ressa appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia and the Pacific in March to testify about repressive measures the government of President Duterte has taken against independent media in the country. Senators Markey and Durbin have been banned by the Duterte government from entering the Philippines due to their advocacy on behalf of Maria Ressa, Senator Leila De Lima, and the protection of human rights in the country.