Maria Ressa, head of the Philippine online news site Rappler, gestures as she walks outside the Regional Trial Court branch 46 in Manila, Philippines on March 1, 2019.
Maria Ressa, head of the Philippine online news site Rappler, gestures as she walks outside the Regional Trial Court branch 46 in Manila, Philippines on March 1, 2019.

MANILA, PHILIPPINES - A Philippine appeals court has upheld a decision that an online news site critical of President Rodrigo Duterte violated a constitutional ban on foreign ownership of news media.

The Court of Appeals said in a decision made public Monday that Rappler Inc. effectively allowed U.S.-based investor Omidyar Network "to participate" in its corporate actions and decisions in violation of the constitution, which requires media companies to be fully owned and managed by Filipinos.

Rappler argued that it did not grant Omidyar the power to control or influence its news operations, but the appeals court backed a Securities and Exchange Commission decision last year to revoke the site's license.

Media watchdogs have said the move was an act to muzzle the media.