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.
UST JOURNALISM SOCIETY STATEMENT ON THE CEASE AND DESIST ORDER ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION TO ABS-CBN
The UST Journalism Society strongly condemns the National Telecommunications Commission's (NTC) traitorous act of issuing a cease and desist order to ABS CBN Corporation.
At exactly 7:52 PM on May 5, 2020, the largest broadcasting company in the Philippines bid farewell to the millions of Filipinos who relied on the network for credible news and information. The NTC stopped ABS-CBN's operations despite its assurance last March that it would grant the network a temporary permit so it could still operate after its franchise expires in May.
The move of the NTC is a clear manifestation of the government’s agenda to silence the media and discourage critical reporting.
It also reflected the Janus-faced nature of this administration: one that claims to advocate for the plight of ordinary people but does not hesitate to deprive more than 11,000 people of jobs just to satisfy the personal vendetta of its overlord.
ABS-CBN, in its 65 years of service to the nation, has played a major role in providing entertainment, news, and information to Filipinos here and abroad. It has also provided jobs to and fulfilled the dreams of many Filipinos. The network has also been helping poor families and workers whose livelihoods have been disrupted by the quarantine restrictions imposed by the government.
It is jarring that the government is shutting down an institution that provides relief to disadvantaged sectors as well as reliable reports during this health crisis. Silencing ABS-CBN should not be the priority of this government when a virus, not the television network, is the enemy.
The UST Journalism Society stands with the more than 11,000 workers of ABS-CBN who are at risk of losing their jobs and urges everyone to fight for and protect press freedom, whether we are in a pandemic or not. There cannot be a democracy without a free press.
For now, the network may be off the air but the truth will always come out loud and clear. History has never been kind to tyrants.