“I will see to it that you are out.” Said Philippine President Duterte to giant broadcast network ABS-CBN.
On July 10, 2020 Friday, Committee on Legislative Franchises of the Philippine House of Representative made a precedent. It denied the franchise renewal of broadcast network ABS-CBN. This, however franchise issue, creates a chilling effect in the entire fourth estate of our democracy.
I am abhorrent to this blatant attack to a part of the fourth estate.
ABS-CBN should have their franchise granted. In the midst of this pandemic that plaguing the world, we need a news provider that is accessible to remote areas of our country. Access to information is vital in combatting unseen enemy we are presently trying to eradicate. ABS-CBN has been delivering news to our countrymen ever since this virus has permeated our land. The information they bring us have been serving as our guide, possibly the reason why some of us are still alive and has not been one infected by Covid-19 virus. The denial of ABS-CBN franchise will certainly deprive Filipinos that rely to the news, information and entertainment the broadcast network delivers.
This attack simply manifest the fear of the Chief Executive of the Executive branch of the government the way ABS-CBN exercises its Press Freedom; a critical media not the agreeable that authoritarianism loves. In their reports, ABS-CBN has offended those allies of the President and the President himself. The President himself warned that he will see to it that ABS-CBN is out. This is an alarming development for a democratic society where the government no longer tolerates criticisms and cannot afford to be offended by news their actions are actually subject of. Silencing a part of the fourth estate is a indirect to the entire. Our last defense has been attacked and lost its part. Thus, an attack to Filipinos whose last arm against tyranny is the fourth estate.
Thousands of workers has lost their jobs amidst global pandemic. This number to join those majority that source of income has been lost. In the midst of pandemic where Philippine Economy is unstable, thousands jobless will make more burden. This denial of franchise is indeed inimical to the public interest and more substantial to say that anti-poor.
Many allegations against ABS-CBN have been presented, point by point ABS-CBN responded to them. Some of these allegations are merely personal score of those who oppose to its franchise renewal. Nothing has been proven to be true due to erroneous jurisdiction, they must be resolved in court. Despite no allegations have been proven true, legislators can’t seems to remember the presumption of innocence, constitutionally guaranteed right.
Signals have been sent. This regime has been attacking our rights to information. They seems to be afraid to a media so they made a chilling effect to the entire. But we will not be silenced by this tyrannical development they made rather, it will trigger us to express our dissents. We will fight for what is right.