CSC logo (Photo grabbed from UST Central Student Council's Official Facebook Page)

THE UST Central Student Council (CSC) has condemned the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) closure order against online news organization Rappler.

The 12-page SEC order dated June 28, 2022, affirmed the commission’s 2018 decision to revoke the certificates of incorporation of Rappler, Inc. and Rappler Holdings Corporation “for violating the constitutional and statutory Foreign Equity Restrictions in Mass Media.”

In a statement on Thursday, June 30, the CSC called the move a “capricious exercise of power” and a “form of repression in the guise of regulation” against the press.

“These capricious exercises of power do not uphold the ends of the rule of law, which is supposedly for the common good. There is no common good when such actions result in the defeat of our important democratic institutions, most especially the press and news media,” the council’s statement read.

“The UST Central Student Council stands against all forms of repression in the guise of regulation. No true democratic government weaponizes the law to silence the press and impose a chilling effect on our freedom of speech and expression,” it added.

Rappler was founded in 2011 by a group of journalists and digital media experts, including its CEO, 2021 Nobel Peace Prize winner Maria Ressa.

Under President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration, Rappler had been the subject of attacks by the government and administration supporters for publishing critical stories, especially about Duterte’s war on drugs.

The SEC order came two days before Duterte stepped down from power and a day after the former president admitted using his “presidential powers” against media giant ABS-CBN, which went off-air in May 2020 following a cease and desist order from the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).

“I used the presidential powers to tell Congress that you are dealing with scoundrels and if you continue to kowtow with them, kawawa ang Pilipino,” said Duterte on June 27 during the oath-taking ceremony of Davao City’s newly elected local government officials.

On June 22, the NTC blocked 28 independent media websites for their alleged affiliation with communist groups.

The CSC urged the government to stop its “power play” against the media.

“True journalism, committed to providing correct and factual information, must not be compromised for selfish political interests. Power play should never be the norm – and should never, ever be considered as an act of government in a truly free society,” the council said. J.B.T.Lim


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