Philippines: Ruling to shut down Rappler is an affront to press freedom

Philippines: Ruling to shut down Rappler is an affront to press freedom - Media

In the final days of his presidency, Filipino President Duterte and his government have taken decisive steps to shut down news website Rappler. An order from the Securities and Exchange Commission, dated 28 June 2022, affirmed its decision to revoke the outlet’s certificates of incorporation. Rappler, co-founded by Nobel prize winner Maria Ressa, has been widely praised for its exposure of government corruption and defence of human rights. This is the latest step in an extensive line of legal harassment by the Duterte regime against Rappler and Maria Ressa. 

In Rappler’s statement, released on 29 June, the news outlet described the proceedings as ‘highly irregular’ and affirmed their intention to appeal.

David Diaz-Jogeix, ARTICLE 19’s Senior Director of Programmes said: 

“The closure of Rappler would be a catastrophic blow to press freedom in the Philippines and worldwide. Rappler, as one of the last independent media outlets in the Philippines, has been relentlessly targeted by the government. This ultimate act of harassment and intimidation is indicative of outgoing-President Duterte’s unapologetic assault on media freedom.”

“The harassment of Rappler is no doubt a result of its open criticism of the government and for holding the government accountable. These are not punishable acts, but rather are essential functions of media in a democracy. To close Rappler demonstrates a blatant disregard for freedom of expression, and the government should reverse its decision in order to protect media freedom, access to information, and freedom of expression in its country.”