MANILA, Philippines – Several groups saw the revocation of Rappler’s registration as a move by the Duterte regime to supress people’s issues and demands.
On Friday, January 19, members of the media, campus journalists, progressive groups, and advocates gathered at Boy Scout Circle in Quezon City to stand in solidarity in defending press freedom.
According to Jann Merlin, Anakbayan University of the Philippines-Diliman chairperson, silencing critical media groups such as Rappler is a way to silence people’s demands. (READ: SEC decision to revoke Rappler’s license ‘too severe’ – lawyer)
“Ang laman ng media ay mga people’s issues. Makikita mong gusto niyang [Duterte] patahimikin ‘yung people’s issue at the same time manipulahin ang media at ang gusto niyang magharing interest lang niya ang makita ng taumbayan,” said Merlin.
(What the media reports are people’s issues. You will see that [Duterte] wants to silence people’s issues and at the same time manipulate the media by reporting only his interests so that it will be the ones only seen by the public.)
“Ang pag-suppress ng media ay kadugtong ng pag-suppress nya ng people’s demands. Ito ay pagpapakita ng ‘all out force for dictatorship.’ (Suppressing media is related to suppressing people’s demands. This shows ‘all out force for dictatorship’),” Merlin added.
Block Marcos spokesperson Lorenzo de Vera also said that the move to close down Rappler is a sign that the Duterte administration is “scared of being exposed.”
“Isa itong senyas na natatakot na ang Duterte regime sa mga mamamahayag dahil nabibisto sila sa karumdumal na ginagawa – lalong-lalo na ‘yung pamamaslang, pagkitil ng karapatang pantao, korupsyon, at power grab sa federalism na ‘yan,” De Vera said.
(This is a sign that the Duterte regime is scared of journalists because they are being exposed – especially the killings, suppressing human rights, corruption and power grabbing brought by federalism.)
Meanwhile, photojournalist and Redemptorist Brother Ciriaco Santiago III said that the public should be more vigilant of what the government can do to silence its critics.
“Issues are slowly creeping. Magugulat na lang tayo kapag hindi tayo nagbantay. Yun ang nakakatakot. (We will be suprised if we are not vigilant. That’s what’s scary.) They’re playing God, to put it simply,” he said.
On Monday, January 15, the Securities and Exchange Commission revoked Rappler’s registration for allegedly violating the Constitution and the Anti-Dummy Law.
Several groups slammed the move as an “alarming attempt to silence independent journalism” and a “win for fake news.” – Rappler.com