World Association of News Publishers

Protest Campaign - Philippines, 18 January 2018

Protest Campaign - Philippines, 18 January 2018

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His Excellency Rodrigo Duterte
President of the Philippines
Manila, Philippines


18 January 2018


Your Excellency,

We are writing on behalf of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) and the World Editors Forum, which together represent 18,000 publications, 15,000 online sites and over 3,000 companies in more than 120 countries, to express our serious concern at the order to close independent news website Rappler.

According to reports, on 11 January the Philippines’ Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) revoked Rappler’s Certificate of Incorporation, effectively delivering a closure order to the company. The SEC ruled that the company had contravened regulations prohibiting foreign ownership of mass media. It rejected Rappler’s contention that Omidyar Network, a fund created by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, did not “own” the company as its investment gave the fund no voting rights or say in how the company is run.

The revocation of Rappler’s registration is the latest in a string of state and media actions against the website, which has frequently been critical of your presidency.

While acknowledging your country’s right to decide on limits of foreign ownership of media companies, the closure of Rappler appears to be a political manoeuvre and sends a chilling message to independent journalists across the country. It will also discourage foreign investment in an important industry to the detriment of both domestic businesses and wider society, which risks losing a vital independent voice.

Rappler is planning to file an appeal against the ruling, which is due to take effect in 15 days.

We respectfully call on you to take all possible steps to ensure that the decision to order the closure of Rappler is rescinded so that the website can continue to play an active role in civic debate and carry out the watchdog function of the press. Its closure would be an indelible stain on the Philippines record of freedom of expression.  

We look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.


Yours sincerely,


Michael Golden
World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers


David Callaway
World Editors Forum 


WAN-IFRA is the global organization for the world’s newspapers and news publishers, with formal representative status at the United Nations, UNESCO and the Council of Europe. The organization groups 18,000 publications, 15,000 online sites and over 3,000 companies in more than 120 countries.



Andrew Heslop's picture

Andrew Heslop


2018-01-18 11:05

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In countless countries, journalists, editors and publishers are physically attacked, imprisoned, censored, suspended or harassed for their work. WAN-IFRA is committed to defending freedom of expression by promoting a free and independent press around the world. Read more ...