Rappler, website in the Philippines, is facing a

Rappler,
a major and well known online English-language website in the Philippines, is
facing a case for the revocation of its registration
by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

To clearly understand what happened, Rappler had violated the law by
releasing an article that contradicts President Duterte and that it circumvents
the Philippine constitution, which requires a hundred percent Filipino control
and ownership for any media entry. The main issue was that Rappler had also
failed to respect this provision when he received funds from two foreign
investors. The first being Pierre Omidyar, who created and founded both eBay
and Omidyar Network, and the second being the international investment firm,
North Base Media. This made President Duterte and the SEC believe that the
money that was being invested into Rappler was now being controlled by these
two US firms but Rappler says that they have no ownership stake and no control
of the website.

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This led to President Duterte saying that the website contains “fake
news” and later addressing the public that it’s “fully owned by Americans”. He has repeatedly
slammed Rappler in public after its critical reporting of his drug war, among
other issues, also having the time to address one of Rappler’s reporters
saying, “you
have been throwing trash… If you are trying to throw garbage at us, then the
least that we can do is explain how about you? Are you also clean?”. The SEC may have concealed the fact that by revoking
the registration of Rappler, it would have impeded its delivery of news and
information on matters of public concern, the constitutional guarantees of
press freedom and the general population’s entitlement to know. In response, a lot of people have gathered together on
social media to offer their support to Rappler by promoting the hashtags
#DenfendPressFreedom and #IStandWithRappler. I look at Rappler’s case as an
attack on press and media freedom because it got its name from being an
investigative journalism. This form of censorship that takes place kills “dissenting
voices and free speech”.

Since the
SEC’s court order is not finalized yet, Rappler can still continue its
operations and even have fifteen days to challenge their decision in the Court
of Appeals and reverse the SEC’s order. The founder of Rappler, Maria Ressa,
assures that they are not backing out from a fight, stating, “We will
fight this as much as we can, as long as we can. We will exhaust all legal
remedies but we want to point out that the punishment is too severe, we weren’t
given due process and this is a press freedom issue.” Many commentators have
agreed with her statement by saying that it’s “a blow to press freedom and the
right to speak truth to power”.

Overall,
I think that it’s no surprise that President Duterte and the SEC could be doing
this to scare other Philippine media outlets and to take them down. A previous
example is the Prieto family. Since they didn’t pay tax on a property they
owned, the President “threatened to come up with ‘an exposé’ against the
newspaper”. What’s happening now to Rappler could also be linked to the past
actions of the former Philippine strongman, Ferdinand Marcos. Either way, the
freedom of speech in all media outlets is slowly being taken away due to
numerous reasons.