You are on page 1of 1

RAPPLER v. SEC (CA-G.R. SP.

No 154292)

ISSUE: Whether Rappler is engaged in the business of mass media, and therefore, subject to foreign
equity restriction under Section 11(1) Article XVI of the 1987 Constitution

HELD: YES. The CA held that Rappler is engaged in the business of mass media. The CA cited RA 9211 1
which includes that:

f. “Mass Media”—refers to any medium of communication designed to reach a mass of people. For this
purpose, mass media includes print media such as, but not limited to, newspapers, magazines, and
publications; broadcast media such as, but not limited to radio, television, cable television, and cinema;
electronic media such as but not limited to the internet;

In contrast to PD No. 10182 which also defines “mass media” as:

Section 1. The term "mass media" refers to the print medium of communication, which includes all
newspapers, periodicals, magazines, journals, and publications and all advertising therein, and billboards,
neon signs and the like, and the broadcast medium of communication, which includes radio and television
broadcasting in all their aspects and all other cinematographic or radio promotions and advertising.

The CA considered RA 9211 as the better law in determining the definition of “mass media” in the case at
bar. The Court of Appeals also gave credence to the definition by the DOJ as requested by then SEC
Chairman, Perfecto Yasay Jr.:

In Opinion No. 24, 1986, this Department, construing the identical provision in the 1973 Constitution
said:

The term “mass media” in the Constitution refers to any medium of communication, a
newspaper, radio, motion pictures, television, designed to reach the masses and that tends
to set aside the standards, ideals, and aims of the masses (Op. No 163, s. 1973) The
distinctive features of any mass media undertaking is the dissemination of information and
ideals to the public, or a portion thereof (Op. No. 120, s. 1982) …” (reiterated in Op. No.
10, s. 1996)

The Court of Appeals also considered the articles of incorporation of Rappler which describes their primary
purpose as xxx to operate news, information, and social network services xxx. Moreover, as noted by
the SEC en banc, Rappler, in an online article published in www.rappler.com, characterized itself as an “all-
digital news organization”, and “online news site” that “merges traditional television broadcasting with the
internet” and “combines the discipline and credibility of traditional print and TV journalists” so that it can join
broadcasting networking giants.”

Lastly, the CA gave great consideration to the decision of the Supreme Court in Rappler, Inc., v. Bautista
(G.R. No. 222702) wherein Rappler claimed that equal access should be given to all mass media, online
and traditional. In that case, the SC agreed with Rappler and ruled that it is an online mass media entity
and should be granted equal rights with traditional forms of mass media to broadcast debates via online
live streaming.

1
Republic Act No. 9211 AN ACT REGULATING THE PACKAGING, USE, SALE, DISTRIBUTION AND ADVERTISEMENTS OF
TOBACCO PRODUCTS AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES (2003)
2
LIMITING THE OWNERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT OF MASS MEDIA TO CITIZENS OF THE PHILIPPINES AND FOR OTHER
PURPOSES (1976)