Maria Ressa
Maria Ressa (C), the CEO and editor of online portal Rappler, speaks during a protest on press freedom along with fellow journalists in Manila on Jan. 19, 2018. Philippine journalists took to the streets on January 19 in support of a news website facing state-enforced closure, accusing President Rodrigo Duterte of trampling on press freedom.
AFP Photo/Ted Aljibe
Andanar: Maria Ressa ‘remains out of touch with the political realities’
( - September 28, 2019 - 5:51pm

MANILA, Philippines — Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar on Saturday slammed Rappler CEO Maria Ressa for making “baseless and absurd” claims in her recent opinion piece for The Los Angeles Times, saying the veteran journalist “remains out of touch”.

In her September 25 commentary, Ressa wrote that the situation of Philippine democracy under President Rodrigo Duterte — whose victory, according to Ressa, was aided by social media disinformation — “is a warning to democracies around the world.”

“The fight can be won, but it can also be lost. Our experience in the Philippines is a grim reminder that American democracy and democracy as we know it around the world now hang in the balance,” she said.

In a statement, Andanar, a former news reader turned politician, said Ressa “refuses to accept that the president is what the people truly wanted and needed.”

“It is tragic that Ms. Ressa remains out of touch with the political realities on the ground as she continues to insinuate that [President Duterte} won through lies and fake propaganda,” he added.

Bloomberg in 2017 reported that Facebook’s “political team” allegedly trained the camp of then-presidential candidate Duterte on how to maximize the platform for a campaign.

Last year, Facebook started blocking websites that are suspected of promoting false information in the country. Some of the banned domains support Duterte. — Ian Nicolas Cigaral

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