Rappler Again Banned from Coverage

CMFR/Philippines — A reporter of online news site Rappler was denied accreditation to cover the Department of Health’s (DOH) launch of its campaign to end tuberculosis on 23 April 2019, an event that President Rodrigo Duterte was also set to attend.

According to a Rappler report, its health reporter Sofia Tomacruz had earlier confirmed her attendance with the DOH’s media relations unit on April 17. But the night before the event, the DOH’s media office told Tomacruz in a text message that she would no longer be able to cover the event because Malacañang did not approve her accreditation.

Tomacruz told CMFR that no other information was provided to explain why she could no longer cover the event. Following the ban, Tomacruz inquired whether there would be a press conference with Health Secretary Francisco Duque III which she could attend, but was told no such activity was scheduled.

The incident came a week after Rappler and its reporters and regional correspondents filed a petition at the Supreme Court seeking an end to Duterte’s coverage ban against them. The ban, which has been in effect for 14 months now, began in February 2018 when Rappler’s Malacañang reporter Pia Ranada was barred from the Office of the President in Malacañang. The ban was extended to Rappler’s regional correspondents a month later.