SC permits other journos to join Rappler plea vs. Duterte coverage ban

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 14)— The Supreme Court (SC) has allowed other journalists to join news website Rappler’s petition to lift President Rodrigo Duterte’s coverage ban against its reporters.

In a resolution dated July 30 and released Wednesday, the high court en banc said it granted the petition for intervention filed by at least 41 journalists in April.

The group of television and print journalists asked SC to annul and declare as unconstitutional the ban against Rappler reporters, which was imposed in March 2018.

Petitioners, which include Florangel Braid, one of the drafters of the 1987 Constitution and now president emeritus of the Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication; Melinda de Jesus of the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility; columnists Ceres Doyo and John Nery; TV talk-show host and columnist Winnie Monsod; Inday Varona, Marlon Ramos, Vergel Santos, Muriel Macaraig and Nikko Dizon, also called on the high court to hold oral arguments on the case.

The embattled news agency’s reporters, meanwhile, hope their case “can be put to test” with the proposed oral arguments.

“The justices' decision to let other journalists join our petition shows the coverage ban affects not just Rappler but other media organizations and practitioners as well,” Rappler’s petitioners said in a statement.

“We hope our case can be put to the test of oral arguments so we can finally get answers from Malacañang and see how sincere it is in respecting freedom of the press.”

The SC, in the same resolution, also ordered the government to comment on the news company’s petition to stop the ban. Concerned agencies were given ten days to file their response.

The President, in previous speeches, had lashed out at Rappler which it described as a “bogus organization” and also accused it of spreading fake news.

Duterte in February 2018 first prohibited Rappler reporter Pia Ranada and chief Maria Ressa from covering Malacañang and the President’s events.

CNN Philippines’ Alyssa Rola and Robert Vergara contributed to this report.