Freedom and Responsibility

Freedom and Responsibility
A Statement from Concerned Writers in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao on the issue of the SEC decision to revoke the license of Rappler
We the undersigned, refuse to be distracted from the real issue of Constitutional violation committed by Rappler, a media entity that has misrepresented itself to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), yet prides itself on being composed of veteran journalists, and as such,members of mass media.
Article XVI, Section 11 (1) of the Constitution provides that the ownership and management of mass media shall absolutely be limited to citizens of the Philippines.
Rappler has accepted more than a million dollars in “donations” from foreign entities such as Omidyar Network and North Base Media. Rappler contradicts its claim to being independent as it has allowed Omidyar and North Base Media to interfere in its corporate affairs.
We must ask: What is the deal? To say that these foreign entities will exert no control or influence in its policies and management is not only lame, but stretches credulity. What interests do Omidyar Network and North Base Media represent?
The public must weigh: Is Rappler truly independent? Or have the details of its corporate nature recently unveiled by the SEC significantly compromised its independence?Whose interests does Rappler truly serve when it owes its being and becoming to foreign investors, in clear violation of the Philippine Constitution?
Press freedom in the Philippines remains alive and strong, as proven by Rappler and the existence of mass media outlets throughout the country. They have not ceased to perform their roles as mass media and continue to enjoy the protection of the Constitution, which SEC has ruled Rappler violated.
Styling herself as victim of harassment and as vanguard of truth and press freedom, Maria Ressa should simply debunk the SEC decision through legal means.Rappler owes the government and the people an accounting of its commitments to the Philippines and the Constitution.
We hereby denounce foreign media outlets like The New York Times and The Washington Post that continue to portray the Philippines as a benighted country, without the benefit of deep research and nuanced understanding of its contexts.
We enjoin foreign media: Stop interfering in our country’s affairs based on hearsay. If you can’t competently report the facts from the ground, from actual observation and thoughtful interviews with Filipinos as professional journalists should do,STOP meddling with us now.
We call on all nationalistic and patriotic Filipinos to support our duly elected government and intensely resist the interference of western media and corporations in the shaping of public opinion based on skewed information and hasty judgements about the country’s complex political situation.
We also take this opportunity to ask government to ensure the protection of freedom, exercise no tolerance for abuse, and denounce purveyors of misinformation and distorted opinions from diverse sources, including those aligned with its agenda.
We enjoy freedom in the Philippines, now more than ever, because we feel responsible for the country and this freedom, hence this testament.
To see the the list of people who signed this statement, please click here.