Netizens were outraged over what they call Rappler’s irresponsible way of disseminating information in relation to the recent Resorts World Manila fiasco.
Social media blogger Mike Acebedo Lopez took to Facebook lashing out Rappler’s Maria Reesa for her ‘irresponsible brand of journalism.’
Lopez said Rappler’s initial news accounts on the Resorts World incident sowed fear and confusion caused by its unconfirmed published report picked up on a foreign wire agency attributing the attack as a claimed ISIS perpetrated terror plan in Manila.
“Rappler reported it was claimed by ISIS because one wire agency said that one site heard that ISIS claimed it to be theirs. This knowing full well that ISIS normally claims attacks that aren’t theirs. And so all that was basis for their clickbait headline which they later edited to include their thirdhand source which didn’t also get any confirmation whatsoever,” the blogger added.
“I’m serious, there is a need to make Maria Ressa account for what she did. At the very least, she ought to issue a public apology.”
The attack caused 37 deaths after hotel guests, employees and visitors panicked and died of suffocating fumes brought about by the fire started by the lone gunman who police later identified as casino gambler Jesse Carlos, a former government employee.
Labelling Rappler’s way of reporting as ‘daw’ (it is said, they say) journalism, Lopez wrote that one of his post’s commenter streesed that apart from the fear Reesa sowed in people’s hearts and minds is the damage on the country’s economy and tourism industry.
The Philippine National Police quickly ruled out terrorism: “We cannot relate it to terrorism because he did not shoot anybody,” National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Director Oscar Albayalde told reporters on Friday, June 2.
Ressa however defended that it was her responsibility to report all angles.
“A breaking news story requires we cover and report all angles. We don’t choose NOT to report one because it might make you afraid,” she said.
Meanwhile, in another Rappler published article authored by Reesa with a headline, “Terrorism and ISIS at Resorts World attack?” she wrote that hours before authorities spoke, an alleged ISIS member Semion Almujaheed, a member of the group that has taken parts of Marawi, claimed responsibility on the posh Manila hotel attack on a pro-ISIS channel.
“This is the same account that posted the video of a priest held hostage in Marawi appealing for a troop pull-out on Tuesday, May 30,” Reesa pointed out.
Written in English and repeated in Arabic, the post said: “The lonewolf soldiers of the Khilafah attack the heart of Kufar city of Manila in Resort World,” she added.
Here are some Facebook users reactions and comments over Lopez’ FB post:
Jao Jeoff: “I can hardly imagine the extent of damage she caused minutes or hours after she or her Rappler published the “fake news.”
Millie Floresca Tan: “If it was “claimed by ISIS” as you put it, you should have verified it first. That is how responsible journalism should be. Palusot! Go find another job! Shame on you.” 😠
Bernard Ranoy: “Make Maria Ressa and Rappler answerable for all the deaths they have induced due to panics caused by misinformation!”
Benjie Pedro: “Wow! How does that make it right ? Adding the word ‘claimed’ suddenly absolves them of any responsibility.” 😂😂😂
SOURCES: Facebook, Rappler