Kabataan Partylist condemns the denial of franchise to ABS-CBN, attack on Press Freedom
As Marcos has done before, Duterte does again. With the help of his rabid allies in Congress in tireless pursuit of shutting down the largest media network, the administration has successfully pulled out a trick from the Marcosian dictatorial play book.
Kabataan Party-list highly condemns this attack on the press by the Duterte Administration. Amid the pandemic, in the context of the lack of mass testing, the ever growing number of COVID-19 cases, and the failing economy, Duterte and his co-conspirators chose to sentence hunger and death to the more than 11,000 employees and workers, along with their families, of the media giant.
Despite the objective facts presented over the course of 12 hearings, wherein it was proven that ABS-CBN has not committed any violation of the law regarding the issues thrown against it, the majority of Congress thinks otherwise. If the hearings and facts presented have done little to sway the opinions of the representatives voting, then it would only prove that the course of the 12 hearings was nothing but a show; a sham of the process, and a waste of precious time which could’ve been used to deliberate on laws and policies which are of greater and urgent need; mass testing and other necessary health measures to curb the spread of COVID-19, socio-economic assistance to those who need it and safety guarantees to livelihood, and measures to protect the constitutionally guaranteed rights of the people, given that state forces have been found abusing the powers granted to them by law.
The shutdown is clearly an attack on press freedom, as it projects fear unto the press, both mainstream and alternative media, and sends a clear, chilling message: release news reports and articles critical of the government, get shut down, or worse, silenced. As the pandemic grips the whole nation, timely reports about the health and economic situation have only gained greater importance, and critical information of the government’s response is essential to keep the public informed.
To everyone who voted against the franchise renewal, history and the people will pass their judgment. We call on the youth and all democracy and freedom loving people to resist these attacks, and unite in solidarity with the employees and workers of the ABS-CBN, and to unite in the fight to defend press freedom.