Bid to shutter Philippine online news site sparks outrage

Maria Ressa CEO and executive editor of Rappler

The publication reported that it.

The SEC argued that a provision in the Omidyar PDR - which states that Rappler Holdings needs to seek the approval of two-thirds of PDR holders on corporate matters - violates the Philippine Constitution. Rappler has not shied away from challenging Duterte and its reporters have frequently been threatened by his online army of supporters, often in response to social media postings by pro-Duterte bloggers, some in government.

Roque denied that it was Solicitor General Jose Calida, a close associate of Duterte, who had initiated the case against Rappler and said the regulator was already looking into its ownership before Calida took it up.

Duterte also said he is willing to fire Go if it is proven he meddled in the defense project, and continued to defend him even while the question was about his statement, made during his speech at the inauguration, on alleged abuses committed by media in the guise of press freedom.

US-based watchdog Committee to Protect Journalists on Tuesday called the Philippine government's moves a "clear and immediate danger to press freedom". Rappler argues back that the two foreign groups with stakes in their company, Omidyar Network and North Base Media, are composed of worldwide journalists and investors with no ownership rights.

Rappler and all independent media agencies must live to write for many more days and years, and outlast all the enemies of truth, good governance, and justice in this land.

Malacañang said it respects the Security and Exchange Commission decision revoking the license of online news organization Rappler to operate.

"Rappler may wish to exhaust all available legal remedies until the decision becomes final", he said. This simply suggests that criminal prosecution would follow against Filipino stockholders of Rappler, Inc., who are believed to be dummies of foreign investors. "Revoking a company's license to operate over a contractual clause that the SEC could just as easily have ordered changed seems both extreme and political", Marcus Brauchli, the organization's cofounder and a former top editor of the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post, said in an email. "We call on all Filipino journalists to unite and resist every and all attempts to silence us", it said.

Hheli Kiline, the HRW Asia deputy chief, warned of a "chilling effect if President Rodrigo "Rody" Duterte would "succeed in silencing Rappler".

Aside from the press freedom issue, the SEC's ruling could also affect the business interests of non-Filipinos who may have invested huge funds in domestic corporations, like real estate, which is purely for Filipinos.

Rappler has repeatedly earned Duterte's ire for critical reportage against his government.

According to the National Union of Journalists, the closure order was a vendetta by Duterte, who had frequently voiced out warnings to go after media groups that were critical of his young administration. "There are other avenues, such as starting a new media company".

If only to rub salt on an open wound, Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) "offered" Rappler founder Maria Ressa a job in her blog following the revocation by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of the online media outlet's registration.

While it is a democracy, the Philippines' media is classified by Freedom House as only "partly free".

The foul-mouthed leader has often accused local and global journalists of being biased, of being too critical of his regime's bloody drug war, and of being part of a destabilisation plot against him.

"Our end goal is not to make money, but to be self-sufficient", she said.

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