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SPJ calls Rappler shut down 'wrong on many fronts'



Rebecca Aguilar, SPJ National President, 317-361-4134,
Jennifer Royer, SPJ Senior Director of Communications, 317-361-4134,

INDIANAPOLIS – The Society of Professional Journalists fights for freedom of the press around the world, and the organization finds the Philippine government's decision to order the closure of the acclaimed news site, Rappler, wrong on many fronts.

In a message posted to its readers Wednesday, Rappler announced that the Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission revoked its license to operate. “What this means for you, and for us, is that the Commission is ordering us to close shop, to cease telling you stories, to stop speaking truth to power, and to let go of everything that we have built – and created – with you since 2012.”

Rappler was founded and run by Maria Ressa, 2018 Time Magazine Person of the Year, 2019 SPJ Fellow of the Society and 2021 Nobel Peace Prize winner. Rappler’s consistent and objective reporting about the outgoing Duterte government has caused it to face numerous legal challenges to its existence. Some charges against Ressa and Rappler were dismissed while others are still under appeal.

In its statement, Rappler said it would contest the decision.

Dan Kubiske, co-chair of the SPJ International Community said the move by the Philippine government, while not unexpected, was still a surprise.

“For about a decade the Duterte government has been trying to shut down The Rappler,” said Kubiske. “And now, on its last day in power, it has succeeded in silencing a major news organization that is the definition of independent and honest journalism in the Philippines.”

The Duterte government leaves power June 30 when Ferdinand “Bong Bong” Marcos takes over the office of the presidency.

“Marcos has shown the same contempt for the independent press in the Philippines, and especially The Rappler, as Duterte,” said Kubiske. “It just strikes us odd that on the last day of his administration, Duterte got his wish of closing Rappler.”

SPJ National President Rebecca Aguilar expressed her concern for the safety and well-being of Ressa and her staff at Rappler. She added SPJ will continue to monitor the situation and provide whatever help the Society can offer.

SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to informing citizens; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and fights to protect First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press. Support excellent journalism and fight for your right to know. Become a member, give to the Legal Defense Fund or give to the SPJ Foundation.


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