Philippine news site Rappler ordered to shut down

Philippine news site Rappler ordered to shut down

An employee of news online portal Rappler walks past the company logo at their office in Pasig City, suburban Manila, on Wednesday. (AFP photo)
An employee of news online portal Rappler walks past the company logo at their office in Pasig City, suburban Manila, on Wednesday. (AFP photo)

A Philippine news site co-founded by Nobel Peace Prize winner Maria Ressa has been ordered to shut down, the company said Wednesday, a day before President Rodrigo Duterte -- its arch-nemesis -- leaves office.

Ressa has been a vocal critic of Duterte and the deadly drug war he launched in 2016, triggering what media advocates say is a grinding series of criminal charges, probes and online attacks against her and Rappler.

The latest blow was delivered by the Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission.

In a statement Wednesday, it confirmed the "revocation of the certificates of incorporation" of Rappler for violating "constitutional and statutory restrictions on foreign ownership in mass media".

Rappler said the decision "effectively confirmed the shutdown" of the company and vowed to appeal, describing the proceedings as "highly irregular".

"We have discussed all possible scenarios with Rapplers (staff) since SEC issued its first order in 2018," Glenda Gloria, executive editor and co-founder of the site, told reporters.

"Nothing ever sufficiently prepares an organisation for a 'kill' order."

Rappler has had to fight for survival as Duterte's government accused it of violating a constitutional ban on foreign ownership in securing funding, as well as tax evasion.

It has also been accused of cyber libel -- a new criminal law introduced in 2012, the same year the news site was founded.

Duterte has attacked the website by name, calling it a "fake news outlet", over a story about one of his closest aides.

Ressa, who is from the United States, and Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in October for their efforts to "safeguard freedom of expression".

Ressa is fighting at least seven court cases, including an appeal against a conviction in a cyber libel case, for which she is on bail and faces up to six years in prison.

Ferdinand Marcos Jr, the son of the Philippines' former dictator who presided over widespread human rights abuses and corruption, succeeds Duterte on Thursday.

Activists fear Marcos Jr's presidency could worsen human rights and freedom of speech in the country.


Do you like the content of this article?
COMMENT (14)
TRENDING

Temporary stay

Former Sri Lankan president Gotabaya Rajapaksa, having fled his country and seen his Singapore visa expire, arrives in Thailand but won't be here for long, the government says.

11 Aug 2022

ThaiBev puts off brewery IPO again

SINGAPORE: Thai Beverage Plc has deferred the initial public offering of its brewery unit in Singapore once again, citing “prolonged challenging market conditions” for its decision.

11 Aug 2022

Prawit's birthday cake leaves a bad taste

Palang Pracharath members abruptly ordered a new birthday cake for party leader Prawit Wongsuwon on Thursday after the original drew scathing reviews for bad taste on social media.

11 Aug 2022