editorial.1.16.18


Last Monday, the Securities and Exchange Commission in Manila, an office under the Executive Branch, handed down a decision revoking the license of Rappler, an independent global online news source that operates in the Philippines.

The reason for the decision to shut down was because Rappler violated the native country’s Constitution by supposedly allowing foreigners to own it.

We join hands with our colleagues in media, like the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines and the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, in viewing the SEC ruling as a threat to press freedom.

The Editor-in-Chief of TV5-Interaksyon.com, a global digital news site in Manila, posted in Facebook, “The government is punishing Rappler, and it is — has been — out to muzzle the Philippine press. This is idiotic and dangerous, and patently despotic.”

The license revocation story was covered by international media outlets like The New York Times, The Washington Post, Agence France Presse, The Jakarta Post, The Guardian (London) and Yahoo.

Rappler had been a staunch critic of extrajudicial killings (EJK) associated with President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody war on drugs.

It also made and published a critical study about the swarm of Duterte trolls in social media and how they operated.

In a media conference, Maria Ressa, CEO of Rappler, denied the government’s accusations and said it did not plan to stop operating and Rappler will pursue the case in court.

In a statement that followed, Rappler said, “We intend to not only contest this through all legal processes available to us, but also to fight for our freedom to do journalism and for your right to be heard through an independent platform like Rappler.”

“We will continue bringing you the news, holding the powerful to account for their actions and decisions, calling attention to government lapses that further disempower the disadvantaged.”