THE misnamed Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ), Rappler and two other media outfits which have been stridently critical of President Duterte are violating the constitutional ban on foreign presence in media by receiving substantial funds from US entities.
These media outfits are Vera Files and the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR).
Vera Files was also designated by Facebook as one of its “fact checkers.” I dare it to fact-check the claims in this column.
These outfits are in the same legal quagmire as Rappler, which the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in 2018 had ruled was in violation of that constitutional ban owing to its $1.5 million funding from an American enterprise.
The SEC pointed out: “The constitutional and statutory prohibition…means to isolate the Filipino masses from all foreign influence (even apparently ‘harmless’ ones) sent via “any medium of communication.” It ruled—which the Court of Appeals later affirmed—that the Constitution stipulates a “zero foreign control standard,” which means that a media entity cannot accept a single peso or dollar of foreign money.
I don’t think these outfits could have survived for a month without foreign funding. They do not have an income stream to sustain them. In contrast to wealthy US tycoons funding similar media institutions, rich Filipinos or companies aren’t interested at all in media that they would financially support such outfits.