ALTERMIDYA, a nationwide network of alternative media outfits, finds the decision to revoke the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) registration of online news site Rappler deeply troubling.
The SEC decision is a serious danger to press freedom and freedom of expression, and was made amid such glaring indications of rising dictatorship as the threat of term extension with the impending Charter change, the No-Elections scenario, and the hasty approval of the extension of Martial Law in Mindanao. Before all this, President Rodrigo Duterte had repeatedly threatened certain media organizations that he deems critical of his administration, among them Rappler, ABS-CBN and the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
The decision to suppress Rappler for supposedly violating the Consititutional prohibition on foreign ownership of media can only be interpreted as part of a scheme to silence critical media and to instill fear among media practitioners committed to reporting the truth in behalf of transparency in the current regime, and to hold it to account.
The motive behind the revocation of Rappler’s SEC registration is also questionable in the context of the Duterte administration push for 100% ownership of public utilities and mass media through charter change. We have always been supportive of the constitutional ban on foreign ownership of media, but will oppose its use to silence the press.
We urge our fellow media practitioners in both the alternative and corporate media to resist all forms of repression and attacks against press freedom as a vital part of our opposition to the Duterte regime’s march to tyranny and the suppression of everyone’s freedom.
Reference: Prof. Luis Teodoro, AlterMidya National Chairperson