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, continue to languish in Congress.
UP BAGUIO STATEMENT ON THE SHUTDOWN OF ABS-CBN
In a concert of voices, dissonance is expected in order to achieve harmony or balance. Dissonance is essential to the exploration of a better society. This more egalitarian society can only be achieved if there is multiplicity of voices, even discordant ones. To silence a voice is to promote dogmatism, stasis, and decay.
Such is the role of the ABS-CBN network. The shutting down of its broadcast operations on May 5, 2020 through a cease and desist order by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has muzzled a voice in a society constantly under attack by those in power through a distortion of reality, misdirection, and the deployment of trolls whose only job is to smear the independent media and the political opposition with “fake” news accusations.
Backed by a machinery that seeks to cast doubt on society’s time-honored values such as due process and human rights, it is imperative to hear voices from the free and independent media for unadulterated facts and information. Engagement in the national conversation is of prime importance especially the need for a people’s participation in the national discourse be it from the far-flung Cordillera, or the coastal communities of Pangasinan, La Union, and Ilocos.
Through its journalists and broadcast facilities, ABS-CBN brings these discourses and conversations to a larger Filipino audience so the people could make informed choices about broad societal issues. Shuttering the network disenfranchises journalists, the profession, and the Filipino people who must rely on a free and independent media in these times of continued assault on truth and facts.
The rule of law, liberally quoted by supporters of the network’s shutdown, is never self-evident. It should be tempered by the common good and the national interest—both Constitutional principles. The disenfranchisement of thousands of its workers at a time of a global pandemic diminishes the value of the law as it relates to the common good and the national interest.
Social justice is evinced by a free press. The University of the Philippines Baguio stands for democracy and press freedom for an enlightened society.
(The UP Baguio Executive Staff, 10 May 2020)