New York City – A New York-based media organization has added its voice in support of Rappler, an online news site in the Philippines which has recently been shut down by the Duterte government, contending that its foreign owners have shown control over it.
The Fil-Am Press Club of New York issued a public statement saying, “Revoking Rappler’s certificate of incorporation effectively shuts down the news company’s operation, and strikes a serious blow against press freedom in the Philippines.”
Rappler, owned and managed veteran journalist Maria Ressa, has been doing critical reportage of the Duterte administration’s drug war policy which in effect resulted in massive murders of suspected small-time drug peddlers and users, either by police or gangsters.
The Securities and Exchange Commission however concluded that Rappler has been controlled by its foreign investor and thus drastically ruled for its shut down, without giving it due consideration for explanation or to change or modify its policies.
The full text of the FAPCNY, signed by its president Marivir Montebon, reads:
“It is with concern that the Filipino American Press Club of New York views the recent decision of the Philippines’ Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to revoke the certificate of incorporation of the online news site Rappler.
Revoking Rappler’s certificate of incorporation effectively shuts down the news company’s operation, and strikes a serious blow against press freedom in the Philippines.
The press is an institution that is vital to the full functioning of democratic systems – it serves to keep the people informed so that the they can make informed decisions and be better citizens and participants in society; it serves as a counter-balance against those who wield economic and political power; and it also serves as a watchdog against abuse of power.
Only a free press, free from intimidation and harassment, can effectively perform these tasks and serve the public. Any attempt to muzzle the press diminishes its capacity to be of service to the people.
We call on our fellow journalists, the Filipino people, and Filipinos in the U.S. and around the world, to remain vigilant, and to defend press freedom and freedom of expression in the Philippines.”