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, and bills for its franchise renewal were "killed" by the legislative franchises committee of the House of Representatives on July 10, 2020.
Statement of the Malacañang Press Corps
A Thousand Little Cuts Make Us Stronger
Today is a dark day for journalism.
The House of Representatives Committee on Legislative Franchise' denial of ABS-CBN is yet another assault on press freedom in the country.
We deplore the blatant and arrogant abuse of power. This is a warning to the press: do not offend the powers that be. One less watchdog is one step towards tyranny.
We grieve for the public. In this pandemic, we need more media organizations, not less, to inform the public of the dangers and risks of COVID-19 and how the government is responding to the crisis, and to make them accountable for their missteps.
We grieve for thousands of employees of ABS-CBN who are now in danger of losing their jobs amid this pandemic. We stand in solidarity in their fight against this State-backed repression of private media.
While we grieve, we are not cowed. We are more emboldened to carry the torch to carry out our mission to inform the public and keep power in check.
A thousand little cuts do not make us weak, these make us stronger. History is never kind to tyrants.
Statement of the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines
FOCAP on ABS-CBN shutdown: We’ll never flinch and never cower
The Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP) condemns the vote of the House of Representatives' committee on legislative franchises to reject the license renewal of ABS-CBN, the country's largest broadcaster, as a painful stab at press freedom.
The decision deprives the Filipino people of an independent source of information when millions are grappling with the coronavirus pandemic. It obliterates the livelihood of thousands of journalists and media workers who risk their lives each day to keep the public informed.
FOCAP stands by its ABS-CBN colleagues in this profoundly dark day for journalists in the Philippines and will join them in the struggle ahead to defend independent and courageous journalism that exacts accountability and the rule of law.
FOCAP urges our media colleagues across the country to uphold our independence, loyalty to the public and dedication to the truth.
FOCAP was founded during the dark days of martial law in 1974 to safeguard press freedom. The threats have never ceased and we will never flinch and never cower.
Statement of the Photojournalists' Center of the Philippines
We knew it from the very start.
The callous and brazen conduct of some of the members of the House of Representatives were indicative that it was never a fair hearing.
In fact it was never a hearing of the application for the renewal of the ABS-CBN franchise. It was an incrimination.
It is as if all the lapses and mistakes committed by the broadcast network were crimes against humanity.
In reality, the mistakes were all administrative lapses that could have been subjected to whatever penalties applicable under the concerned government bodies.
Closing the giant media network for whatever lapses it could have committed was never and would have never been part of the deal in a just, nay a democratic, society.
Press freedom is when journalists who have dedicated all their lives to the profession can continue to work freely because their programs and platforms still exist.
But these do not exist anymore, and the people these programs are supposed to be serving got the raw end of the deal.
ABS-CBN is not being watched on the remote island of Occidental Mindoro anymore. DZMM is not being heard in Aurora province anymore.
Everywhere in the country, screens have turned black and radios have been silenced.
The attack on legitimate media together and the recently passed Anti-Terrorism ACT are throwbacks to the time of autocratic rule under the dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
Citizens you have been warned. Your civil liberties have been eroded. Your democracy is shrinking fast.
Statement of Rappler
ABS-CBN's battle is also ours
The decision of the House of Representatives’ committee on legislative franchises to deny ABS-CBN a franchise renewal in the middle of a pandemic shows the shamelessly skewed priorities of this administration.
A captured legislature did not hesitate to do the bidding of the President, who, since March 2017, has repeatedly threatened the network. He declared openly in December 2019, “I will see to it that you’re out.” That sealed the fate of ABS-CBN.
The rigmarole in the House of Representatives was headed in one direction since then.
We stand with the thousands of workers of ABS-CBN who will likely be laid off or terminated because members of Congress could not wait for the pandemic to ease before killing their franchise application. We ask colleagues from other networks and other media to stand with ABS-CBN too. It is as much our battle as it is theirs.
When media operations are closed down on account of twisted facts and an inability to accept criticism, democracy’s death is hastened. Martial Law shut down ABS-CBN and other critical media in 1972. Illegal arrests were made, disappearances and deaths characterized the dictatorship.
Learning from the lessons of history, journalists and other freedom-loving citizens must speak up because to be silent is to be complicit. #CourageOn #DefendPressFreedom
Statement of Defense Press Corps of the Philippines
Statement of Philippine Daily Inquirer Reporters
Statement of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines
Statement of the De La Salle University
Statement of the UP College of Mass Communication
Statement of the UST Faculty of Arts and Letters Student Council
Statement of the IBON Foundation
Statement of the Economic Journalists' Association of the Philippines (EJAP)
Statement of the Justice and Court Reporters' Association (JUCRA)
Statement of faculty members of the Far Eastern University-Department of Communication
Statement of the Philippine Association of Communication Educators (PACE)
Statement of Department of Communication of the Ateneo de Manila University
Statement of University of Sto. Tomas Journalism Society.