National Press Club: Rappler violated the Constitution

National Press Club: Rappler violated the Constitution

Its either an attack on press freedom or a the State’s act of cracking down on a corporation not complying with the Philippine Constitution.

So much has been said about the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) decision to revoke the registration of online media outlet Rappler Inc. and its controlling stockholder Rappler Holdings Corp. (RHC), but the 1987 Constitution is very clear on the matter, that media outlets should be controlled and reserved to Filipinos.

The controversial order to revoke the registration has been tied by the opposition to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s crackdown on media outlets that are considered to his administration.  *
National Press Club, Rappler violated the law(photo credit to PNA)

SEC has made a statement that it believes that it has an air tight case as against Rappler, most specially on the issue on the structure of the Philippine depositary receipts (PDRs) issued by RHC to Omidyar Network Fund LLC, an offshore fund created by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his spouse.

In the light of these evolving events, the National Press Club (NPC has made a statement re the matter, in a statement it provided it stated that:

“In the broader Philippine media industry, Rappler is just one among the thousands of media entities in the country and whose operations have remained free," NPC President Paul Gutierrez said on Tuesday.

He added that 436 television broadcast stations, 411 AM radio stations, over 1,000 FM radio stations, more than 400 newspapers, and countless bloggers continue to operate freely.

“To say that the fate of one media entity found to have run afoul with the law translates to media repression in the country is stretching the argument a bit too much,” Gutierrez said.

He added that the NPC "purposely delayed issuing its statement" as it thoroughly reviewed the SEC's 29-page decision.

NPC came up with a conclusion that indeed Rappler has violated the constitutional limit for foreign ownership of media companies. *

“As the SEC noted, Rappler breached this constitutional limit when it allowed Omidyar to exercise control over its corporate affairs as provided for in their internal agreement, in exchange for a fund infusion of US$ 1 million dollars,” Gutierrez noted.

NPC also has made a statement to their own colleagues in the industry not to be swayed by the “emotion of the moment” or the prevailing sentiment to avoid accusations of inconsistency.

“Responsible journalism also means complying with the law,” Gutierrez said. “By way of policing our ranks and as part of our continuing reform drive, the NPC has long ago made it a policy that those applying for membership should represent not only credible, but also, legally established media entities."
Report from GMA News Online

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