It’s #WorldPressFreedomDay on Monday, May 3. This year’s theme, “Information as a Public Good,” serves to affirm the importance of information you can trust in a climate of disinformation and within a damaged information ecosystem.
In the Philippines, press freedom has suffered during the coronavirus pandemic. The country dropped two more places this year in the Reporters Without Borders’ (RSF) World Press Freedom Index, now ranking 138th out of 180 nations.
RSF cited as factors the continued attacks of President Rodrigo Duterte and his administration on the media, including “the grotesque judicial harassment campaign” against Rappler and its CEO Maria Ressa, and the government-backed shutdown of the country’s largest broadcaster ABS-CBN.
Along with this is the online harassment and red-tagging of journalists and critics of the Duterte administration.
These have not discouraged us from continuing with our work. For journalists here at Rappler, press freedom means being able to speak truth to power while debunking lies that spread quickly and violently.
To help us sustain our work, we created Rappler+, our membership program for loyal readers and supporters. It keeps us independent and helps us continue to deliver uncompromising journalism.
Direct support, direct access
When you join Rappler+, your money goes directly to our team of independent journalists, researchers, writers, and community organizers based that stands by our mission, values, and editorial standards.
As a member, you will gain access to our newsroom through our members-only events. Through our program, you’ll be able to contribute to our editorial agenda while learning more about certain topics through our exclusive research reports and weekly newsletters that are only accessible to our members.
Cover more ground
By signing up or donating to Rappler, you will help us cover more areas around the Philippines which is especially important for the upcoming #PHVote election coverage and disaster coverage.
This will not only help us hear more stories from the different regions of the Philippines but it will also help spread our initiatives to fight disinformation, uphold human rights, and aim for zero casualty during disasters to places that are often overlooked. (We have started our #PHVote stories with the powers and duties of a president and vice president; powers and duties of House members; and powers and duties of a senator.)
Connection and community that leads to action
This membership program was created because we care about building communities. We did not want to just have anonymous subscribers. We wanted to meet the people at the other side of the screen and create spaces for meaningful conversations.
Our community has grown and, as shared by our member Patrick*, a mathematician, they “get to meet with like-minded people from all over the world. “We all speak freely without judgment from others. I get insights from our conversations ranging from politics, to green living, to culture and the arts,” he said.
Information you can trust
When we have no control over the facts, others take control of the narrative and what people believe to be true. Without press freedom, journalists and fact-checkers cannot do the important work of speaking truth to power and debunking lies.
Corporate relations officer Althea*, one of our members, highlights the significance of finding clarity amid the online noise: “It’s important to me that I have access to information that keeps me abreast on noteworthy events. Rappler is a source I can trust. Being a member, I get to be more involved in different activities that are very engaging. It helps me understand my role in upholding human rights and freedom.”
Express the values you choose to live by
At Rappler+, we give our members the opportunity to learn, discuss and participate in thought-provoking events. It is a space where they can practice the values they uphold.
As our member Lot* said: “Being part of Rappler+ is my little contribution to a bigger vision. Rappler’s mission is speaking truth to power and building communities of action for a better world. I believe in that.”
Defending press freedom is a tall order. No journalist can do it alone. But when you break it down to tangible things that spring from a shared vision, it becomes more achievable.
The Rappler+ program allows you and Rappler to collectively build a society where institutions and leaders are accountable – and the truth prevails.
*Full name hidden for privacy