New York-based watchdog Human Rights Watch says that the Philippine government is leveling up its war on accountability by threatening to shut down online news organization Rappler.com.
Rappler, known for publishing numerous investigative pieces critical of the Duterte administration, is now facing closure after the Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission or SEC revoked its license recently.
The SEC ruled that a 2015 foreign investment to Rappler from Omidyar Network — a fund created by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar violated the Philippine constitution that forbids foreign ownership and management of mass media.
Rappler denies any wrongdoing.
Incidentally, HRW was recently included in the “list” of Duterte’s war on accountability.
The list included, the united nations special rapporteur of EJK Agnes Callamard, jailed senator Leila de Lima, Senator Sonny Trillanes and online media organization Rappler.
The Fil-Am press club of New York recently posted a statement to defend press freedom in the Philippines and to support Rappler.
“It is a violation of freedom of the press, and this is a disturbing reality right now in the Philippines,” says Marivir Montebon.
Kine says shutting down Rappler will have a chilling effect on press freedom in the Philippines.
“It’s a very sinister move towards self-censorship, the government knows what it’s doing, trying to stifle and choke any type of meaningful opposition, and more key wasy to do that is to attack a media outlet and let others learn from that example.”
Fil-Am press club members believe –a free press is important for democracy to work in the Philippines.
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.