The decision of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to revoke the registration of independent media outlet Rappler is "an alarming attempt to silence independent journalism," according to Amnesty International.
"The government must immediately reverse this decision and end all efforts to stifle free press in the country," said James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Director of Southeast Asia and the Pacific.
"This is a politically motivated decision, pure and simple, and just the latest attempt to go after anyone who dares to criticize the government. Rappler has been fearless in holding those in power to account, including by consistently criticizing the government’s murderous ‘war on drugs’. It has faced persistent harassment by government supporters and even the President himself," he added.
Gomez said the government should instead focus on investigating cases of violations against human rights, particularly the war on drugs that mostly affect poor communities.
He added that the government should not "silence the messenger."
The SEC revoked the registration of Rappler for allegedly violating the Philippines Constitution and the so-called Anti-Dummy Law, which regulates foreign ownership of Filipino companies.
In a statement, Rappler said it is receiving investments from foreign funds, including the Omidyar Network, but it remains a fully Filipino owned company. Rappler will continue to operate while it is appealing the decision. — BAP, GMA News