MANILA — Media workers and press freedom advocates staged a protest action on Friday, May 5, at Boys Scout Circle, Tomas Morato in Quezon City to mark the 3rd year of the ABS-CBN shutdown.
The demonstration also aimed to mark World Press Freedom Day.
Roy Barbosa of Manila Today strongly condemned the ABS-CBN shutdown, saying that it deprived many people of the right to information.
He also highlighted ABS-CBN workers who lost their jobs.
"'Yung kalagayan sa ABS-CBN, yung nangyaring shutdown, kailangan nating kilalanin yung 11,000 workers. Hindi lang sila numero, sila ay may mga pamilya, sila ay may mga kaanak," Barbosa said.
"Kasama kami na nananawagan, talagang demand ito noh dahil totoo yung sinasabing pananakot, panghaharass, pangingikil hindi lamang sa mga mahahayag kundi pati sa mga ordinaryong tao," he added.
According to student journalist Jaycel Dominique Pante, there is still a lot of work to do in the fight for press freedom.
"Let this day serve as a reminder po na hindi pa tapos ang paglaban natin sa press freedom. Ito ay isang pipedream pa rin, hindi pa rin ito isang realidad," Pante said.
On May 5, 2020, the National Telecommunications Commission ordered ABS-CBN to cease its broadcast operations due to its expired 25-year franchise, which the House of Representatives refused to renew.
This resulted in thousands of ABS-CBN workers losing their jobs, making it one of the biggest attacks on press freedom during the past administration according to advocates.
Aside from condemning the ABS-CBN shutdown, the protesters also called for an end to contractualization, eradication of red-tagging, the release of political prisoners, and demanded a raise for media workers.