The Philippine government has ordered the shutdown of Rappler, an investigative newspaper founded by Maria Ressa, 2021 Nobel Peace Prize winner.
On Tuesday, the Securities and Exchange Commission of the country announced the decision to revoke the company’s licence to operate, claiming Rappler’s funding model was unconstitutional.
Rappler has earned a reputation for criticizing Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s government.
In 2018, the country’s SEC issued its first ruling against the newspaper, claiming it breached foreign ownership restrictions in the Philippine media.
This came on the back of a 2015 funding by the Omiydar network – a philanthropic investment company set up by Pierre Omiydar, the billionaire founder of Ebay.
SEC claimed Rappler ceded control of the media outfit to the Americans, but the company denied it.
Reacting on Wednesday, Ressa told reporters SEC’s ruling was the latest blow in a six-year campaign from authorities in response to Rappler’s hard-hitting reporting.
“We have been harassed, this is intimidation, these are political tactics and we refuse to succumb to them,” she said.
Human Rights Watch said the “spurious” move from SEC was an effort to “shut up Nobel laureate Maria Ressa and shut down Rappler by hook or by crook.”
Rappler said it wouldn’t be closing and would challenge the order in court.
“We will continue to work and to do business as usual,” Ressa said. “We will follow the legal process and continue to stand up for our rights. We will hold the line.”
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