SEC revocation of Rappler seen as Duterte admin moves to constrict press freedom | BICOL TODAY

SEC revocation of Rappler seen as Duterte admin moves to constrict press freedom

“The Duterte regime’s revocation of Rappler’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) registration, after months of articles about the Duterte regime’s anti-people drug war campaign, is clearly a move to constrict press freedom, targetting media platforms exposing the brutality and inhumanity of the government program. This also attests to the reality that this regime is gradually moving towards a dictatorship,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay.

The SEC revocation of Rappler’s registration was ordered by no less than the Office of the Solicitor General on December 14, 2016, tasking the commission to investigate the media organization for allegedly violating the Constitution, which prohibits foreign ownership and control of mass media platforms. Rappler has since responded, belying the claims hurled at them and stating that their financial statements are accessible for comparison and scrutiny.

“With the revamping of efforts to change the constitution to allow full foreign ownership of Philippine lands, resources, and utilities, the basis put forward by the Duterte regime in revoking Rappler’s registration, stating that the media outfit has violated the constitution’s provision disallowing foreign ownership of mass media, comes off as selective and ironic. The Duterte regime is targeting Rappler for allegedly being owned by foreigners when it is clamoring to do exactly the same with our land and resources by ridding provisions in our constitution that limit foreign ownership,” added Palabay.

Palabay also cited the July 2017 acquisition of The Philippine Daily Inquirer by Ramon Ang, a businessman with a cozy connection to the President. Like Rappler, this came after months of the publication releasing commentaries and stories that criticized many government policies, including Oplan Tokhang and Oplan Double Barrel.

“While negotiation was present in the PDI acquisition, unlike the Manila Times 1999 incident where the latter was forced to sell, this nonetheless demonstrates an insidious effort to control mass media and restrict content that questions the government. When the Duterte regime and its mouthpieces in social media cry foul of ‘biased’ reporting, it has become crystal clear that any criticism – regardless of how legitimate the grievance – is considered ‘biased’,” the Karapatan secretary general added.

Karapatan also raised the issue of political persecution and targeting of alternative media practitioners, citing the cases of Sherwin de Vera and Kathyrine Cortez.

On December 13, 2017, De Vera was illegally arrested while on his way home. De Vera, also an environmental activist, writes an opinion column for the Northern Dispatch Weekly. His writings aimed to present the point of view of the Cordillera people. De Vera is currently detained in Abra Provincial Jail for trumped-up charges of rebellion. On December 18, 2017, Kathyrine Cortez of media outfit Radyo ni Juan received death threats via text messages. She was tagged as a communist supporter, along with the message: “A bullet for you! Merry Christmas!” Cortez has been reporting on rights violations on Lumad communities in Mindanao.

“Political persecution is a brand proudly worn by this fascist regime. Minions in Congress, personified by the likes of House speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, have shamelessly targeted congressmen that have expressed their opposition to bills and motions put forward by the Duterte government, openly threatening them with budget reductions and other threats. The removal of Rappler’s registration sends out a chilling message – diverse and often contradictory views will not be tolerated by the Duterte regime. History then teaches us that now is the most urgent time to speak up and to resist, lest this government thinks it can get away with underhanded maneuvers,” concluded Palabay.

Posted by on January 15, 2018. Filed under Nation,Top Stories. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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