Rappler receives Hillary Clinton, international support amid shutdown threat

·Contributor
·3 min read
Former US Secretary of States Hillary Clinton poses during a photo session in Paris, on June 10, 2022. Clinton said that shutting down online news site Rappler is a disservice to the Philippines(Photo by JOEL SAGET/AFP via Getty Images)
Former US Secretary of States Hillary Clinton poses during a photo session in Paris, on June 10, 2022. Clinton said that shutting down online news site Rappler is a disservice to the Philippines(Photo by JOEL SAGET/AFP via Getty Images)

Media company Rappler, which has been under fire by the Duterte administration, has received international support following the government’s decision to shut down the news website.

Rappler founder and Nobel Prize laureate Maria Ressa on Wednesday (June 29) announced that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has upheld its decision to revoke news website Rappler’s license to operate and their articles.

This prompted support from the international community including a statement from former United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

In a tweet posted Thursday (June 30), Clinton said shutting down Rappler is a disservice to the Philippines.

“The people of the Philippines deserve sources of news and information that will tell them the truth. Rappler, and Maria Ressa, tell the truth,” Clinton said. “Shutting the site down would be a grave disservice to the country and its people.”

In an order dated June 28, two days before Rodrigo Duterte was to step down from the presidency, the SEC upheld its decision to revoke Rappler’s certificate of incorporation.

Rappler, in a statement, said that they were confident that SEC would “put public interest above other interests at play” in the case as they acted in “good faith and adhered to the best standards in a fast-evolving business environment.”

“We thought this day would never come, even as we were warned in the first of week of December last year that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) would be handing down a ruling against us,” the statement read.

Meanwhile, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), an international nonprofit organization promoting press freedom, has also issued a statement in support of Rappler.

CPJ senior Southeast Asi representative Shawn Crispin urged the government to reverse its order against Rappler and other critical news organizations in the Philippines.

“Philippine authorities must reverse their order to close Rappler and to block access to independent news websites Bulatalat and Pinoy Weekly, and cease fabricating spurious reasons to suppress the free press,” Crispin said.

“We strongly urge President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to reverse the outgoing Duterte government’s abysmal press freedom record,” he said.

The International Press Institute (IPI) has also joined the calls expressing outrage over the Duterte government’s last blow against the newsroom.

IPI deputy director Scott Griffen called SEC’s latest decision a “serious violation of press freedom.”

“The Philippines’ decision to shut down Rappler is a flagrant attempt to silence a critical media outlet and a serious violation of press freedom, which has rapidly eroded under the Duterte administration,” Griffen said.

More organizations expressed frustration over the repressive decision.

“The Philippines currently ranks 147th out of 180 countries on the Reporters Without Borders press freedom index. For a free news media to operate in the country, this state-sanctioned harassment and violence must end,” International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) said, citing the Philippines’ poor ranking in the press freedom index.

“Philippine govt’s constant attacks on @mariaressa & her team at @rapplerdotcom are aimed at silencing critical voices everywhere. Authoritarian regimes cannot be allowed to evade accountability by abusing law to justify their onslaught on press freedom,” the Coalition for Women in Journalism (CFWIJ), a nonprofit organization for women journalists said.

Pola Rubio is a news writer and photojournalist covering Philippine politics and events. She regularly follows worldwide and local happenings. She advocates for animal welfare and press freedom. Follow her twitter @polarubyo for regular news and cat postings.

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