Independent digital news outlet Rappler was ordered to close by the Philippines’ Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on 28 June, two days before President Rodrigo Duterte was due to leave office. The now former-president sought to close the outlet throughout his presidency in retaliation for its critical reporting.
Rappler is appealing the order. In a statement, the news outlet said: “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.”
The SEC’s order seeks to implement their earlier decision that Rappler’s issuance of Philippine Depositary Receipts (PDRs) to a foreign investor, Omidyar Network, amounted to ceding foreign control in contravention of the Constitution, even though Omidyar donated the PDRs back to Rappler.
Rappler was co-founded by Nobel Peace Prize winner Maria Ressa in 2012. Ms Ressa and Rappler face numerous lawsuits initiated by the Duterte government and its supporters, with Ms Ressa facing decades in prison if convicted of all charges.