Editor's note: We are publishing in full statements issued by various groups and institutions in support of ABS-CBN Corp., which went off the air on May 5, 2020 following a cease and desist order from the National Telecommunications Commission. The company's franchise expired on May 4, while bills for its franchise renewal, some filed since 2016, continued to languish in Congress.
Karapatan stands in solidarity with journalists and freedom of expression advocates against this blatant attack on press freedom with the recent National Telecommunications Commission’s cease and desist order against ABS-CBN.
It is truly abhorrent that this order comes in the middle of a public health crisis where the free press plays a crucial role in keeping the public informed on relevant, verified, and life-saving information about the COVID-19 pandemic. Thousands of media workers are also at risk of losing their jobs as the country grapples with a looming socioeconomic crisis.
Amid the government's militarist response to the pandemic, repeated threats of declaring martial law, the rapid shrinking of civic spaces in the country, and an intensified crackdown on dissent, the grave repercussions of the threats against ABS-CBN cannot be ignored.
The Duterte regime is desperately fast-tracking its Marcosian delusions of a fascist dictatorship. We call on all freedom-loving Filipinos to stand against the State's fascist attacks on press freedom and human rights, and to strongly resist and frustrate the Duterte administration’s nefarious tyrannical schemes.