SEC cancels Rappler’s license to operate
Media organizations suffered another blow after the Securities and Exchange Commission revoked the registration of online news site Rappler and its parent firm Rappler Holdings Inc. for allegedly skirting the constitutional provision limiting the ownership of mass media to Filipino citizens.
In its order dated Jan. 11, 2018, the Commission en banc accused Rappler of engaging in a “deceptive scheme when the online media outfit accepted over a million dollar investment from Omidyar Network (ON) through the issuance of Philippine Depositary Receipts.
The SEC decision was penned by chairperson Teresita Herbosa, whose term is about to expire in April or May this year, and commissioners Ephyro Luis Amatong, Davaoeno Emilio Aquino, and Antonieta Ibe. Commissioner Blas Viterbo did not participate in the decision-making.
Rappler denounced “the SEC’s kill order”, which it described as “the first of its kind in history – both for the Commission and for Philippine media”.
“What this means for you, and for us, is that the Commission is ordering us to close shop, to cease telling you stories, to stop speaking truth to power, and to let go of everything that we have built – and created – with you since 2012,” Rappler said.
Rappler, however, has vowed to uphold press freedom and to elevate its case to the court.
“We stand firm. This is a good moment we say we stand for press freedom,” said RAppler CEO Maria Ressa.
Ressa believes the order infringes on freedom of the press in the pursuit of ethical and responsible journalism.
Malacanang, however, denied having a hand in the SEC order and just urged Rappler to comply with the law.
“No one is above the law. The Constitution sets restriction on the ownership and management of mass media entities to which all must abide,” Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said.
Rappler, however, argued that PDRs do not grant ownership.