Manila, Jun 29 (EFE).- Philippines authorities on Wednesday ordered the shutdown of news organization Rappler, co-founded by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Maria Ressa.
The Philippines’ Securities and Exchange Commission said in a statement that a decision to revoke Rappler’s certificates of incorporation was upheld following appeal as it violated restrictions imposed on foreign ownership of mass media, as several judicial decisions since 2018 have maintained.
“We were notified by our lawyers of this ruling that effectively confirmed the shutdown of Rappler,” the organization said in a statement. “We are entitled to appeal this decision and will do so, especially since proceedings were highly irregular.”
The order was made in the final two days of the six-year term of President Rodrigo Duterte. The news outlet is one of the few in the Philippines that has been critical of the leader.
“We have existing legal remedies all the way up to the highest court of the land. It is business as usual for us since, in our view, this is not immediately executory without court approval,” said Rappler.
Ressa, 2021 Nobel Peace Prize winner along with Russian journalist Dimitry Muratov for their efforts to safeguard freedom of expression, co-founded the website in 2012.
The independent organization has extensively published investigations and articles on Duterte’s war on drugs, human rights and corruption, among other things.
Ressa “has distinguished herself as a fearless defender of freedom of expression and has exposed the abuse of power, use of violence and increasing authoritarianism of the regime of President Rodrigo Duterte,” the Nobel committee said.
In addition to the campaign against Rappler, Ressa also has several criminal cases pending in court, in addition to an appeal of a sentence of six years and six months in prison for cyber libel.
Media organizations, and rights, civil and political opposition groups have slammed the cases against Ressa as judicial harassment and retaliation. EFE