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Maria Ressa, CEO of Rappler, an online news agency, addresses a rally of journalists and supporters during a protest against the recent revocation of its registration, northeast of Manila, Philippines, Jan. 19, 2018 (AP photo by Bullit Marquez).

As Duterte Ramps Up His War on the Media, Many in the Philippines Cheer

Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has gained international notoriety for his crass language and ruthless anti-drug campaign, which has resulted in thousands of Filipinos being assassinated by police and vigilantes, their bodies dumped in the streets without the benefit of a trial or any semblance of due process. But the populist, and very popular, leader is quickly becoming known for another frontal assault on the practices of a free and open democracy by relentlessly attacking his critics in the media.

Until Duterte came to power in 2016, the media environment in the Philippines was relatively free and diverse. Duterte has steadily increased the pressure on media he deems unfriendly, unleashing the power of the state against journalists and publishers, along with the withering backing of his supporters on social media, with the single-minded purpose of destroying and silencing his detractors. ...

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