STATEMENT OF CONCERNED STUDENTS OF LAW ON MASS MEDIA, UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES, ON THE LATEST FORM OF HARASSMENT AGAINST RAPPLER
Today, our first day of classes at the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication, Law on Mass Media and Communication class, we open at an “auspicious” time for our class topics.
A television reporter informed our professor that the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) tried to enter the office premises of Rappler news organization to subpoena the staff for a prescribed article (2012) for criminal prosecution of its editors and staff — this, after the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) revoked its corporate personality.
As students of media law, we are outraged by these forms of harassment.
We call on the Duterte administration to stop using the state machinery to threaten press freedom.
We urge our schoolmates and the public to join the efforts to fight media repression.
(collectively written, voted upon and approved line by line by the class on Law on Mass Media and Communication of the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication, January 18, 2018)
if on mobile device: Pls click “Listen in browser” on the soundcloud pod below to play …
a John Lennon original, live,
(News peg: The Securities and Exchange Commission today revoked the corporate certificate of Rappler on the ground that it violated the constitutional ban on foreign ownership of media organizations for getting investments from Omidyar of eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, to boost its capital, and issuing “Philippine Depository Receipts” (PDRs, or certificates evidencing that money was provided) as instruments of investment of said company.)
The best of lawyers will tell Rappler to file an MR (motion for reconsideration) with the SEC, to get an injunction from the Supreme Court (on grounds of prior restraint: “any form of prior restraint comes to this Court bearing a heavy presumption AGAINST its constitutional validity.” (New York Times vs. United States, etc.); failing which: To continue publishing Rappler and make sure the PDRs (investment instruments) are held by Filipino corporations or Filipino nationals, or if worse comes to worst: To publish Rappler using another personality – either another corporate personality or individual natural persons.
In other words, the best of lawyers can make Rappler continue publishing.
But how much are you willing to bend?
And how far are you willing to go to accommodate the whims of this regime?
If you let the new media overlords get away with this – who will be next in the chopping block?
ABS-CBN? — with any number PDRs it has issued or with its legislative franchise?
GMA News 7? — with its NTC permit to operate?
If all of us are willing to bend and willing to twist our torso to please the new media overseers – who else will be hauled over?
Twitter is foreign-owned, WordPress is foreign-owned, Google is foreign-owned — hell, any number of mediocre lawyers can argue that all Facebook users are operating on a foreign-owned platform.
How far are we willing to bend and when do we know we are already breaking?