World

Philippine govt revokes operating licence of news website Rappler

MANILA The Philippine government has revoked the operating licence of news website Rappler, officials said yesterday, in a ruling denounced by President Rodrigo Duterte's critics as the latest blow to press freedom.

Rappler, set up in 2012, is among a clutch of Philippine news organisations that have sparred with Mr Duterte over their critical coverage of his brutal drug war.

But the government rejected allegations that the ruling was an attack on press freedom, with Mr Duterte's spokesman saying Rappler and Rappler Holdings had violated a provision in the country's Constitution restricting media ownership to Filipinos.

At his state of the nation address to Congress last year, Mr Duterte vowed to expose Rappler's "American ownership".

"The issue at hand is the compliance of 100 per cent Filipino ownership and management of mass media. It is not about infringement on the freedom of the press," spokesman Harry Roque said yesterday.

"No one is above the law. Rappler has to comply."

Rappler's acting managing editor Chay Hofilena said the company would file a court appeal against the Securities and Exchange Commission ruling, which is due to take effect in 15 days.- AFP

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