Defend press freedom, solon urges public as ABS-CBN faces new threat of closure since Martial Law

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 24 2020 09:44 AM

Employees and supporters of ABS-CBN rally in front of the media station on Feb. 14, 2020 to show their support against moves to strip its franchise. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

MANILA — The public should take cue from the EDSA People Power revolution that toppled the regime of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos in defending free press and expression, a lawmaker said Monday as the government moved to close down ABS-CBN, the country's largest media network. 

The House of Representatives has yet to act on several bills seeking the renewal of ABS-CBN's franchise, which expires in March. Earlier this month, the government's top lawyer asked the Supreme Court to nullify the network's franchise due to supposed abuses. 

This is the second time that ABS-CBN might be "forced to cease operations" after Marcos declared martial law in September 1972 and closed down the network along with hundreds of other media outlets, noted Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman. 

"The ennobling spirit of EDSA and the horrific specter of the martial law regime must galvanize all sectors to protect and uphold the freedom of expression, the right to dissent, press freedom, and people’s free access to information through media," he said in a statement. 

"EDSA’s legacy must not be sacrificed to personal grievances and partisan intolerance," added Lagman, whose brother is among thousands of victims of alleged enforced disappearances during martial law. 

The 1986 uprising that installed President Cory Aquino into power would mark its 34th anniversary on Tuesday, a special non-working holiday. 

Meanwhile, ABS-CBN network executives are set to appear before a Senate committee on Monday in a highly anticipated hearing on the company's compliance to franchise terms and conditions.

The inquiry is scheduled on the same day the network is due to respond to Solicitor General Jose Calida’s quo warranto petition to take it off the air for supposed franchise violations.

news.abs-cbn.com is news website of ABS-CBN Corp.