INDEPENDENT NEWS

Alarm at effort to shut down independent media outlet

Published: Fri 26 Jan 2018 09:30 AM
UN experts express serious alarm at effort to shut down independent media outlet in the Philippines
GENEVA (25 January 2018) – The Philippines Government must halt moves to shut down independent news website Rappler, a group of UN human rights experts* have said.
“We are gravely concerned that the government is moving to revoke Rappler’s licence,” said the three Special Rapporteurs in a joint statement.
For several years Rappler, an innovative and independent source of news and analysis in the Philippines, has provided critical coverage regarding the current administration’s violent “war on drugs” and the spread of disinformation over the internet and social media, allegedly by government officials and their supporters. In turn President Duterte and his leading supporters have strongly criticized Rappler. Some of the criticism has included threats of physical harm to Rappler reporters.
“Rappler’s work rests on its own freedom to impart information, and more importantly its vast readership to have access to its public interest reporting,” the UN experts said. “As a matter of human rights law, there is no basis to block it from operating. Rappler and other independent outlets need particular protection because of the essential role they play in ensuring robust public debate.”
Rappler’s certificate of incorporation was revoked on 11 January by the country’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over allegations it breached ownership rules when it accepted money from foreign investors. Rappler is continuing to operate while it is challenging the decision of SEC in court. If the decision is upheld, the news outlet will be forced to close.
“The SEC’s move is at odds with its past approach to foreign support of local or national media, given that philanthropic contributions do not amount to foreign ownership,” the experts noted.
“It has rejected the previously accepted format of contributions which media companies use to raise foreign funding.
“We are especially concerned that this move against Rappler comes at a time of rising rhetoric against independent voices in the country,” the UN experts concluded. “We urge the Government to return to its path of protection and promotion of independent media, especially those covering issues in the public interest.”
*The UN experts: Mr. David Kaye, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression; Ms. Agnes Callamard, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions; and Mr. Michel Forst, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders.
The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.
ends

Next in World

At UN, youth activists press for bold action
By: United Nations
Tongan PM 'Akilisi Pohiva dies, aged 78
By: RNZ
UK PM to Suspend Parliament; Queen's Speech
By: 10 Downing Street
Gordon Campbell on the Hong Kong protest movement
By: Gordon Campbell
4 days until intergenerational climate strike
By: School Strike 4 Climate
The Nation: Simon Shepherd Interviews James Shaw
By: The Nation
Coal use increasing under Labour-Green policies
By: New Zealand National Party
NZCTU calls on employers to release staff for Climate Strike
By: New Zealand Council of Trade Unions
Interim Climate Change Committee Call for evidence launched
By: Interim Climate Change Committee
Climate change is here - we all need to do our part
By: Citizens Environmental Advocacy Centre
Preventing climate change cheaper than dealing with damage
By: University of Queensland
Winners of 2019 Global Youth Video Competition
By: UNFCCC
Extinction Rebellion: Leaving it to the Students
By: Binoy Kampmark
Major IPCC report: ‘The climate crisis is an oceans crisis’
By: Greenpeace
View as: DESKTOP | MOBILEWe're in BETA! Send Feedback © Scoop Media