Freedom of the press is not the issue in the Maria Ressa story
FROM A DISTANCE - Carmen N. Pedrosa (The Philippine Star) - February 16, 2019 - 12:00am

We are being deluged with the “Maria Ressa and her press freedom story” in social media. It has a political purpose few would know and understand. As a columnist in another newspaper said, it is the template on how to oust governments in countries where the US must dominate (colonize).

As far as Maria Ressa and her foreign supporters are concerned, President Duterte, no matter how many Filipinos voted for him or how well he is doing his job as president of the Philippines, Western especially American  strategists want him ousted.

For the first time we have a president who wants to do good for his country. He may have flaws but on the all-important duty of how to build a strong nation independently he is being condemned under the guise of  “freedom of the press principle” by some Western and US strategists.

He may want to fulfill his mandate as the president of the Philippines to build an independent and strong nation but he is stopped because there is a bigger geopolitical issue involved – the China and US superpower rivalry in our region.

The Philippines stands between the two rivals for its strategic location and a lime development  of  pliant “little brown brothers.”

With that in mind the “freedom of the press” Maria Ressa claims is the “press freedom to lie.”

I agree with a columnist from another newspaper who calls it a template and points to Rappler’s funder Pierre Omidyar through his Omidyar Network as an example of what it does to oust a leader and destabilize a country.

Omidyar Network invested in Rappler in November 2015.

This is Rappler’s job in the Philippines with Maria Ressa selected to carry out the job. There are other anti-Duterte journalists in the Philippines but the Maria Ressa’s is a special kind. It has set a political goal in mind on behalf of a foreign interest.

President Rodrigo Duterte is not without fault. Indeed he has many faults but his kind of leadership is needed for a country in the stranglehold of a former colonialist “which claimed to set it free without setting it free.” It was brilliant deception and many American “Filipinos” mostly of the oligarchy have taken their side except that the policy is not brutally stated as such but wrapped in boxes with ribbons of human rights and press freedom. Maria Ressa formerly of the CNN is such a gift being given to us.

But majority of Filipinos are growing up politically knowing what independence and freedom really mean. They  will not be deceived.

The “freedom of the press” being alleged by Maria Ressa and her supporters is a cover up for the real issue here – the freedom of the Philippines from America’s colonization.

PRRD has made it clear that it was his duty to have an independent foreign policy for his country. With it goes the difficulties after a long history of Filipino oligarchs supporting continued American colonialization. That is the root cause of the sudden upsurge of issues to swing Filipinos from their support to Duterte and return us to the Aquino kind of Liberals with the May elections.

The columnist continues:

“Rappler has not disclosed how much Omidyar, a French-American billionaire who founded eBay, had invested in Rappler. However, a study of Rappler’s financial statements, would indicate that Omidyar put in about P100 million in the website. Venture Capital firm North Base media a few months earlier plunked in P50 million.”

Omidyar has apparently issued the order for Rappler and another of his media outfits, the US-based online publication The Intercept to work together to create outrage against Duterte. The Intercept has been posting extremely one-sided articles on Duterte that portray the President as a deranged killer.

A June 17 article claimed; “Since Duterte took office last June, police and vigilante death squads have killed more than 7,000 people, and devastated poor communities in cities across the country.

That 7,000 figure is what Rappler had invented way back in September 2016, which I have totally debunked so that respectable news outlets no longer use that false figure.

The invention of that 7,000 number, which it claimed was only as of September 2016, has been one of Rappler’s biggest achievements in demonizing Duterte.

What I found so shameful, and even treasonous for Rappler, was its conspiracy last May with The Intercept to disclose to the world the confidential telephone conversation between President Trump and Duterte.

Rappler gave the transcript of the conversation it got from Yellow stragglers at the foreign affairs department to The Intercept to first publish.

It then reported it, claiming it was merely re-publishing the report of that US Omidyar outfit. The thirst for fame of Rappler’s editors got the better of them, as it apparently asked intercept.com to put a note that the article was written “in partnership with Rappler.”

In a tone that reflects its capitalist worldview, Forbes’ lead paragraphs for the article on Omidyar’s funding of the Ukraine media outfit read: “The best way to raise funds for a media project in Ukraine? Go full-bore anti-Russia to easily woo North American and European governments to give you money.”

That notion could be the kindest comment on Rappler as well as on PCIJ, the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility, and Vera Files.

These latter three are the three local media outfits funded by the National Endowment for Democracy, which has been accused by respected investigative journalists to have been and continues to be a venue for propaganda operations of the Central Intelligence Agency.

What’s happened to our country? How could journalists who had in the past been passionate nationalists so devoted to the truth serve US masters? Is this what they call “globalization”?

Our duty as citizens of the Philippines is to make sure that if there should be an election we should vote Duterte’s candidates.

MARIA RESSA
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