Reacting to the news that the Philippines authorities have ordered the closure of the independent media outlet Rappler, James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Director of Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said:
“The moves by the Philippines authorities to shut down Rappler is an alarming attempt to silence independent journalism. The government must immediately reverse this decision and end all efforts to stifle free press in the country.
“This is a politically motivated decision, pure and simple, and just the latest attempt to go after anyone who dares to criticise the government. Rappler has been fearless in holding those in power to account, including by consistently criticising the government’s murderous ‘war on drugs’. It has faced persistent harassment by government supporters and even the President himself.
“The Philippines government should focus on ending and investigating violations, mostly against poor communities, in the ‘war on drugs’, not trying to silence the messenger.”
The Securities and Exchange Commission has revoked the registration of Rappler for allegedly violating the Philippines Constitution and the so-called Anti-Dummy Law, which regulates foreign ownership of Filipino companies.
Rappler, however, says that while it is receiving investments from foreign funds, including the Omidyar Network, it is still a fully Filipino owned company. Rappler will continue to operate while it is appealing the decision.