Washington, D.C., January 15 (CPJ/OurVoice) –The Committee to Protect Journalists condemned an order by the Philippines Securities and Exchange Commission to revoke the certificate of incorporation of the critical news website Rappler, which effectively required it to close down.
“The order to close Rappler amounts to a direct assault on freedom of the press in the Philippines,” said Steven Butler, CPJ Asia program coordinator. “We urge Philippine authorities to back off from this effort to close an independent news outlet, and to respect the guarantee of press freedom enshrined in the Philippines constitution’s Bill of Rights.”
The SEC order, according to Rappler and other news reports, was based on a finding that Rappler had used a “deceptive scheme” to circumvent a legal requirement that media properties be locally owned and operated. Rappler argued that foreign funding it has received does not constitute ownership. The website, which has been critical of the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, said it would continue operating while it fights the order in court.