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Rappler
Founded January 1, 2012; 6 years ago (2012-01-01)
Founder Maria Ressa[1]
Cheche Lazaro[1]
Glenda Gloria[1]
Chay Hofileña[1]
Lilibeth Frondoso[1]
Gemma Mendoza[1]
Marites Vitug[1]
Raymund Miranda[1]
Manuel Ayala[1]
Nico Nolledo
Headquarters Pasig, Philippines
Key people
Maria Ressa (Editor-in-chief)
Revenue PHP139.47 million (FY 2015)[1]
PHP-38.35 million (FY 2015)[1]
Owner Rappler Holdings Corporation (98.8%)[1]
Others (1.2%)[1]
Parent Rappler Holdings Corporation
Website www.rappler.com

Rappler is a news website based in the Philippines with a bureau in Jakarta, Indonesia. It started as a Facebook page named MovePH in August 2011[2] and later evolved into a full-blown website on January 1, 2012.[3] along with web based text news content, it was also among the first news websites in the Philippines to extensively use online multimedia including video, pictures, text and audio. It also uses social media sites for news distribution.[4]

According to its own website, the name Rappler is a portmanteau of the words "rap" (to discuss) and "ripple" (to make waves).[3]

History[edit]

With the idea of professional journalists using social media and crowd sourcing for news distribution,[5] Rappler was started in 2011 by Filipino journalist Maria Ressa along with her entrepreneur and journalist friends.[6][7] Brainstorming for the company began some time in 2010 when Maria Ressa was writing her second book "From Bin Laden to Facebook." Other key people involved in its conceptualization and creation were former Newsbreak head and ABS-CBN News Channel managing editor Glenda Gloria, journalist and Ateneo De Manila University professor Chay Hofileña, former TV Patrol executive producer Lilibeth Frondoso, Philippine internet pioneer Nix Nolledo, internet entrepreneur Manuel I. Ayala and former Nation Broadcasting Corporation executive Raymund Miranda.[8]

Rappler first went public as a beta version website on January 1, 2012, the same day that the Philippine Daily Inquirer published a Rappler piece that broke out the story of (then) Philippine Chief Justice Renato Corona being awarded a University of Santo Tomas doctoral degree without a required dissertation.[9][10] The site officially launched at its #MoveManila event at the Far Eastern University in Manila on January 12, 2012.[11]

On October 26, 2017, Rappler became a member of the Poynter Institute's International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN).[12] This led to Facebook tapping Rappler and Vera Files in April 2018 to be its Philippine partners in its worldwide fact-checking program,[13] in part because of their participation in the IFCN.[14][15][16] Under the program, false news stories will appear lower on users' news feeds and lower the chances of people seeing those stories.[15][16] The program, according to a Facebook executive, "is one of the ways we hope to better identify and reduce the reach of false news that people share on our platform."[16] A spokesperson for the Philippine government backed the fact-checking program but protested Facebook’s partnership with Rappler.[17][18]

Ownership controversy and revocation of certificate of incorporation[edit]

In January 2018 Rigoberto Tiglao of The Manila Times, wrote articles criticizing Rappler's ownership and calling for the government to investigate whether the ownership was legal.[19][20]

On January 11, 2018, the Securities and Exchange Commission of the Philippines (SEC) revoked Rappler's certificate of incorporation over Rappler's use of Philippine Depository Receipts (PDRs). It said that the provisions of the PDR issued to Omidyar Network by Rappler gave the American investment firm control over the local media firms' other PDR holders as well as its corporate policies, which the SEC says is a violation of the Constitution's provisions on foreign ownership and control.[21] Rappler claimed that it is 100% Filipino owned and that Omidyar only invests in the media firm.[22] Despite the certificate revocation, SEC stated that Rappler can still operate since their decision is not final, pointing out that the media firm can still challenge the decision before the Court of Appeals within 15 days.[23] Malacañang Palace also suggested that Rappler authors can still continue to publish on their website as bloggers.[24] On February 28, Omidyar Network donated its Rappler PDRs to the editors and executives of Rappler.[25][26]

Rappler stated that the revocation of Rappler's certificate was an attack against the freedom of the press.[27] The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP) and the Philippine Press Institute (PPI) said the SEC ruling is part of a pattern of restricting criticism.[27] The National Press Club of the Philippines, on the other hand, supported the SEC decision.[28][29]

Members of the Philippine Senate and House of Representatives issued statements of concern, describing the SEC revocation of Rappler’s license as "a loss for dissenting voices and free speech,"[30] "pure harassment" and "straight out of the dictator’s playbook,"[31][30] and an "affront on press freedom."[31] Law advocacy group CenterLaw said the move was unconstitutional since the SEC denied Rappler due process. It also said the SEC’s action was "tantamount to prior restraint" of "a known critic of the government’s drug war."[32]

The Philippine government issued a statement denying such a claim, pointing out that President Rodrigo Duterte could have used the armed forces to implement Rappler's closure, as done by various foreign governments, but never did resort to such moves.[33] Chief presidential legal counsel defended the SEC, saying the SEC’s job was simply to punish violators of the law.[34]

A BBC News report described wider concerns about the media in the Philippines, citing how a major campaign donor of the Philippine president had earlier become majority shareholder of a newspaper critical of the government’s war on drugs.[30] The Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism and the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility also cited verbal attacks by the Philippine president and close allies on media organizations that have released critical reports on the government.[35][29]

The National Bureau of Investigation of the Philippines subpoenaed Ressa and a former Rappler reporter on January 18, 2018, in connection with an online libel complaint filed by private entrepreneur Wilfredo Keng. The complaint was for a 2012 report that then Philippine Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona had been using a luxury vehicle owned by Keng.[36] The report also claimed that Keng was involved in human trafficking.[36]

On March 8, 2018, the National Bureau of Investigation lodged before the Department of Justice (DoJ) a cyber libel complaint against Rappler and its officers (Maria Ressa, former Rappler reporter Reynaldo Santos, Jr. who wrote the story, and directors and officers Manuel Ayala, Nico Jose Nolledo, Glenda Gloria, James Bitanga, Felicia Atienza, Dan Albert de Padua and Jose Maria G. Hofilena) in connection with a news article published in 2012 wherein citing in the complaint stated that “Unlike published materials on print, defamatory statements online, such as those contained in the libelous article written and published by subjects, [are]indubitably considered as a continuing crime until and unless the libelous article is actually removed or taken down. Otherwise, the same is a continuing violation of Section 4 (c) (4) of the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012”. [37] [38] [39]

On March 8, 2018, The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) filed criminal and tax evasion charges against Rappler Holdings Corp. before the Department of Justice (DoJ) for evading P133 million in taxes.[40] [41]

Mood Meter feature[edit]

Rappler Mood Meter displaying the feedback of an article's readers.

"Mood Meter" is a web widget embedded on each of Rappler's blogs and articles.[42] It appears as colored bubbles showing the way people react to Rappler's stories.[4] Readers are prompted to choose their response from eight different emotional reactions. The ten stories that received the most reactions in the last 48-hour period would appear on the Mood Navigator.[43]

The Rappler Mood Meter, which is similar to Facebook Reactions,[44] won the Bronze Medal for Brand Experience at the 2012 Boomerang Awards sponsored by the Internet Media Marketing Association of the Philippines (IMMAP).[45]

Ownership structure[edit]

As of 2017, Rappler is owned primarily by Rappler Holdings Corporation, which is in turn owned by Dolphin Fire Group (31.21%), Maria Ressa (23.77%), Hatchd Group (17.86%), Benjamin So (17.86%), and 9.3 percent of minority shares.[46]

Ownership of Rappler Holdings

Rappler draws in funds through the issuance of Philippine Depository Receipts (PDR), which allowed foreign firms Omidyar Network and North Base Media to invest in Rappler.[46]

Philippine Depository Receipts (PDR) issued by Rappler[47]
Quantity Issue date Isuee
264,601 May 29, 2015 NBM Rappler*
11,764,117 July 29, 2015
7,217,257 October 2, 2015 Omidyar Network

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Media Ownership Monitor Philippines - Rappler.com". VERA Files. Retrieved 12 October 2017. 
  2. ^ "MovePH". Facebook. Retrieved May 12, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b Ressa, Maria. "About Rappler". Rappler. Retrieved 20 August 2013. 
  4. ^ a b "First Metro Philippines Investment Summit Partners". Financial Times. Retrieved May 12, 2014. 
  5. ^ Terence Lee (May 21, 2013). "Philippines' Rappler fuses online journalism with counter-terrorism tactics, social network theory". Tech In Asia. Retrieved May 12, 2014. 
  6. ^ Colin Chan (April 2, 2012). "Interview with Maria Ressa, CEO of Rappler.com". TheNewMedia.com. Retrieved May 12, 2014. 
  7. ^ Arsenault, Adrienne (27 April 2017). "'Democracy as we know it is dead': Filipino journalists fight fake news". CBC News. 
  8. ^ "The People Behind Rappler". Rappler. June 17, 2012. Retrieved May 12, 2014. 
  9. ^ Marites Dañguilan Vitug (January 2, 2012). "UST breaks rules to favor Corona". Rappler. Retrieved May 12, 2014. 
  10. ^ "UST breaks rules to favor Corona". Philippine Daily Inquirer. January 1, 2012. Retrieved May 12, 2014. 
  11. ^ Natashya Gutierrez (January 12, 2012). "Rappler introduced at #MoveManila Chat Series". Rappler. Retrieved May 12, 2014. 
  12. ^ "Rappler now a member of the International Fact-Checking Network". Rappler. October 27, 2017. Retrieved April 19, 2018. 
  13. ^ Ong, Thuy (April 17, 2018). "Facebook begins fact-checking news for users in India, one of its largest markets". The Verge. Retrieved April 19, 2018. 
  14. ^ Magsambol, Bonz (April 12, 2018). "Facebook partners with Rappler, Vera Files for fact-checking program". Rappler. Retrieved April 19, 2018. 
  15. ^ a b "Vera Files Fact Sheet: Facebook's third-party fact-checking program in PH explained". Vera Files. April 18, 2018. Retrieved April 19, 2018. 
  16. ^ a b c "Facebook Launches Third-Party Fact-Checking Program in the Philippines". Facebook Newsroom. April 12, 2018. Retrieved April 19, 2018. 
  17. ^ "Roque to meet with Facebook on its 'unacceptable' fact-checking partners". CNN. April 19, 2018. Retrieved April 19, 2018. 
  18. ^ Salaverria, Leila B. (April 17, 2018). "Yes to FB fact-checkers, no to Rappler – Palace". Inquirer. Retrieved April 19, 2018. 
  19. ^ "Manila Times' big boss is Duterte's PR guy". Rappler. Retrieved January 18, 2018. 
  20. ^ "Govt must probe Rappler's foreign ownership". Manila Times Online. January 17, 2018. Archived from the original on January 17, 2018. 
  21. ^ "SEC revokes Rappler's certificate of incorporation". GMA News. January 15, 2018. Retrieved January 17, 2018. 
  22. ^ "Rappler's incorporation papers revoked by SEC". ABS-CBN News. January 15, 2018. Retrieved January 17, 2018. 
  23. ^ Cabuenas, John Viktor (January 15, 2018). "Rappler can still continue operating, says SEC". GMA News. Retrieved January 17, 2018. 
  24. ^ "Rappler reporters may continue to cover beats as 'bloggers' - Palace …". January 18, 2018. Archived from the original on January 18, 2018. 
  25. ^ "Omidyar Network donates investment to Rappler's Filipino managers". CNN. March 1, 2018. Retrieved March 2, 2018. 
  26. ^ Ranada, Pia (March 1, 2018). "Rappler says Omidyar donation not admission of guilt". Rappler. Retrieved March 2, 2018. 
  27. ^ a b "The Rappler-SEC Ruling: Corporate Issues, Politics and Press Freedom". CMFR. Retrieved March 2, 2018. 
  28. ^ "Press freedom not curtailed by SEC decision on Rappler — NPC". GMA News Online. January 16, 2018. Retrieved April 24, 2018. 
  29. ^ a b Bacungan, VJ (February 2, 2018). "National Press Club: We're not puppets of the Palace". CNN. Retrieved April 24, 2018. 
  30. ^ a b c Johnson, Howard (January 17, 2018). "Why Rappler is raising Philippine press freedom fears". BBC News. Retrieved April 24, 2018. 
  31. ^ a b Morallo, Audrey (January 15, 2018). "Senators: Rappler shutdown 'straight from Marcos' playbook'". Philstar. Retrieved April 24, 2018. 
  32. ^ "Roque-founded advocacy group slams SEC decision on Rappler". GMA News. January 16, 2018. Retrieved April 24, 2018. 
  33. ^ "Palace: No media censorship on Rappler - The Manila Times Online". January 17, 2018. Archived from the original on January 17, 2018. 
  34. ^ "SEC could have dealt with Rappler in 'non-draconian' measures: CMFR". ABS-CBN News. ABS-CBN News. January 17, 2018. Retrieved April 24, 2018. 
  35. ^ "PCIJ: SEC morphed from lenient to severe in deciding Rappler's case". GMA News Online. Retrieved April 24, 2018. 
  36. ^ a b "NBI Subpoenas Rappler CEO, Former Reporter Re Cyber Libel Complaint". CMFR. January 24, 2018. Retrieved April 20, 2018. 
  37. ^ "Rappler Holdings charged with tax evasion". The Manila Times. 9 March 2018. Retrieved 19 April 2018. 
  38. ^ "NBI files cyber libel complaint against Rappler". GMA News Online. 8 March 2018. Retrieved 19 April 2018. 
  39. ^ "DOJ begins probe into cyber libel raps vs Rappler". ABS-CBN News. 26 March 2018. Retrieved 19 April 2018. 
  40. ^ "Rappler Holdings charged with tax evasion". The Manila Times. 9 March 2018. Retrieved 18 April 2018. 
  41. ^ "Subpoenas sent to Rappler's Ressa, Bitanga for tax raps". ABS-CBN News. 17 April 2018. Retrieved 18 April 2018. 
  42. ^ "Build Emotion Lexicon from the Mood of Crowd via Topic-Assisted Joint Non-negative Matrix Factorization" (PDF). SIGIR. ACM. 17–21 July 2016. doi:10.1145/2911451.2914759. Retrieved 17 January 2018. 
  43. ^ Adrienne LaFrance (August 13, 2012). "In the Philippines, Rappler is trying to figure out the role of emotion in the news". Nieman Journalism Lab. Retrieved January 16, 2018. 
  44. ^ "How to use Facebook Reactions: How to react on Facebook - Tech Advisor". January 18, 2018. Archived from the original on January 18, 2018. 
  45. ^ Carlo Ople (September 14, 2012). "2012 Boomerang Awards Winners". TheNewMedia.com. Archived from the original on May 13, 2014. Retrieved May 12, 2014. 
  46. ^ a b "Media Ownership Monitor Philippines - Rappler Holdings Corp". Retrieved 13 November 2017. 
  47. ^ "In re: Rappler Inc. and Rappler Holdings Corporation. SP Case No. 08-17-001" (PDF). Securities and Exchange Commission. p. 2-3. Retrieved January 17, 2018. 

External links[edit]

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