Tag Archives: press freedom

HOUSE APPROVES Media Workers’ Welfare Act

Media workers’ dignity, labor rights essential to press freedom

Upholding the dignity and labor rights of media workers is essential to the flourishing of press freedom and enhancement of the people’s right to timely and accurate information, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) said Friday.This came after the approval of the proposed Media… Read More

MARCOS MAY APPROVE ABS-CBN new 25-year legislative franchise

ABS-CBN can get franchise ‘if issues are resolved’

“I know the suspicion is that it is always because of the political positions that they took against PRRD. The actual technical reasons are these issues that were found during the hearings in the House.The question of the ABS-CBN franchise is really about the violations and problems they have encountered during the hearings and the investigation in the House of Representatives.”

President Ferdinand “Bo.gbong” Marcos Jr. has guaranteed that he would not block any efforts to give ABS-CBN Corp. a new 25-year legislative franchise.In a pre-recorded exclusive interview with TV host-actress Toni Gonzaga aired on AllTV Channel, Marcos said ABS-CBN’s bid for a new… Read More

SEC issues revocation order vs Rappler

Revocation order issued in last 2 days of Duterte presidency

By RAPPLER

MANILA, Philippines – On the last two days of President Rodrigo Duterte, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued an order affirming one more time its decision to revoke the certificates of incorporation of Rappler.

“The company registration and monitoring department is hereby directed to effect the revocation of the certificates of incorporation in the records and system of the Commission,” read part of the order dated June 28, and signed by SEC chairperson Emilio Aquino; and Commissioners Javey Paul Francisco, Kelvin Lester Lee, Karlo Bello, and McJill Bryant Fernandez.

What does this mean? “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,” said Rappler in its statement on Wednesday, June 29.

In a statement on Wednesday, the SEC said: “In this light, the latest order issued by the Commission En Banc merely puts in effect its earlier decision and those of the Court of Appeals.”

This comes after the National Security Council (NSC) blocked news websites, including Bulatlat.com, using the feared anti-terror law.

Reasons

In July 2018, the Court of Appeals (CA) issued a decision siding with the findings of the SEC that Rappler’s issuance of Philippine Depositary Receipts (PDRs) to foreign investor Omidyar constituted some amount of foreign control that was prohibited by the Constitution. The Constitution requires that media companies should have zero foreign control.

But in the same decision, the CA said that when Omidyar donated its PDRs to Rappler’s Filipino managers, “the negative foreign control found objectionable by the SEC appears to have been permanently removed.” The CA remanded the case to the SEC to reevaluate, with a nudge to the Corporation Code’s clause allowing companies to have a grace period to cure their alleged defects.

The SEC stood by its findings in February 2021. Rappler filed a motion for reconsideration before the SEC. This latest order is an action to that motion.

SEC said in this latest order: “Considering that the object of the Donation (the Omidyar PDRs) was void for being contrary to law, the Donation itself was void under Article 1409(1) of the Civil Code for being contrary to law and public policy.”

SEC said that when the CA remanded the case, the appellate court did not order to reinvestigate but only to reevaluate. Rappler asked the SEC to receive additional evidence.

“The Commission’s compliance with the said directive could not have violated the due process rights of Rappler and RHC because, by the very nature and essence of the directive, Rappler and RHC were not entitled to participate in the said legal evaluation,” said the SEC.

In February 2019, the CA affirmed its 2018 decision. By September 2019, the Supreme Court issued a resolution declaring the case closed and terminated. The CA registered its books of entry of judgment, declaring it had attained finality in March 2019.

“Public interest will be served if the revocation of the Certificate of Incorporation of Rappler and Rappler Holdings Corporation is sustained because it will implement the policy of respecting and fully complying with the provisions of the Constitution, to which every Filipino owes allegiance,” said the SEC in its order.

Rappler told its staff in an internal memo sent late night Tuesday: “Clarity, agility, sobriety. Review our drills and the tasks assigned to you.”

“Meantime, it is business as usual for us. We will adapt, adjust, survive and thrive.” – Rappler.com

RESSA: Philippines “worse than any war zone” for journalists

Salvador-Panelo_0

Panelo slams remark as ‘exaggerated’

Rappler CEO Maria Ressa is exaggerating by characterizing the media and press landscape in the Philippines under the Duterte administration as “worse than any war zone” that she has been in, Malacañang said on Monday.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo pointed out that only those involved in the illegal drug trade who resisted arrest could compare their environment to a war zone.
“She is always exaggerating. It’s only a war zone to those who are involved in drugs and who resist violently any warrant of arrest being served to them or when they are subject to a buy-bust operation and they violently resist as well as imperil the lives of the law enforcement officers,” Panelo said in a Palace briefing.

maria-ressa

In an interview over 60 Minutes, a program aired at the news site of American mass media company CBS, Ressa said the Philippine media environment has been “living through three years of this kind of hell”.
For Panelo, media workers in the country remained “safe” and remained free to cover events in the country.
“The fact is that every journalist whether here or abroad is free to cover any event in this country and they come out alive and well and very good at reporting even if sometimes exaggerating,” Panelo said.
Under investigation not, under attack
Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar, for his part, disputed Ressa’s claims that her arrests and charges are meant to “pound her into silence” for reporting about alleged extrajudicial killings tied to the drug war.
Andanar emphasized that cases filed against Ressa and Rappler were for the violation of the Anti-Dummy Law, tax evasion charges, and a cyber libel case filed by a private individual that has “nothing to do with the administration.”
“The environment for journalists perceived by Ms. Ressa isn’t reflective of the actual environment for journalists in the Philippines,” Andanar said.
“Ms. Ressa claims that she is ‘under attack’ by the government; when in fact, she is ‘under investigation’ due to her criminal liabilities, from which no one, not even members of the press are exempt from,” he added.
He said Ressa’s case is not an issue involving press freedom but an issue in violation of the Philippine laws acted upon by respective government agencies.
The PCOO chief said Ressa ignored the Duterte administration’s policies that promote the press’ freedom, rights, and security citing Administrative Order (AO) No. 1 which created the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) to address media killings and harassments.
Apart from AO No.1, Duterte also issued Executive Order (EO) No. 2, s. 2016, also known as the Freedom of Information (FOI) Program which requires complete public disclosure of public records, contracts, transactions, and any information, with exceptions for information relating and affecting the national security, requested by a member of the public from all government agencies under the Executive Department.
Criticisms welcome
Andanar said the media environment in the Philippines is “vibrant and alive” since criticisms from all sectors of the media are welcomed and encouraged by the Duterte administration.
He also denied Ressa’s allegation that the Duterte administration employs social media “trolls” to spread misleading information that is “baseless and unproven.”
“Rappler and Ms. Ressa, herself, have been deemed to be sources of fake news just as some government oppositionists lie and claim that the government spreads propaganda. Needless to say, the spreading of fake news is rampant nowadays, in both traditional and social media, utilized by those who have vested interests in fooling the public,” he added.
He said Duterte administration is in pursuit of the truth, to weed out disinformation, to uphold the free press, and to protect the media.
EJKs not state-sanctioned
Andanar, meanwhile, described Rappler’s reports of drug war deaths as “purely estimates cited from sources that suit their agenda and not actual statistics from authorities.”
He said there is no concrete proof that the government sanctions extrajudicial killings.
Citing Panelo, Andanar also defended President Rodrigo Duterte’s supposed admission of his act of killing and that of Operation Tokhang’s, describing them as “hyperbolic expressions” which are not representative of the facts on the ground.
He said Rappler’s reportage “overlooks” the drug war’s favorable outcome such as the decline in the Philippines’ crime rate by 16.16 percent in 2018 from 2016, according to the Philippine National Police (PNP).
Data from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) from July 2016 to August 2019 show that PHP35.66-billion worth of illegal drugs were seized, 208,279 individuals have been arrested in relation to illegal drugs, and 445,669 drug addicts have surrendered, he added.
Anadanar, however, acknowledged that there are circumstances the involvement of rogue cops has resulted in injustices.
He ensured that these cops will undertake reformation and that the government will continue to respond to any unfounded allegations through legal means. (PNA)