Attack on ABS-CBN brings us back to 1972

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
‘KEEP US IN YOUR THOUGHTS’ ABS-CBN employees light candles in solidarity as the network’s darkest hour came on Tuesday night. EDWIN BACASMAS/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER

The Philippine House of Representatives’ denial of the ABS-CBN franchise is an attack that brings us back to the brink of dictatorship in 1972, the last time the network was shut down.

The Concerned Artists of the Philippines decries how the House effectively killed the bid for a franchise.

We grieve with the many artists and creatives, media workers, and the thousands of other employees and workers of the network, whose livelihoods and collective welfare are shaken by the shutdown.

May all the artists, media workers, and celebrities remember the names of the congresspeople who shut this network down, and let them know that they have acted in a manner unbefitting of public servants.

We have the power to express and act against those who have thrown away all concern for the people’s welfare. We condemn how the country’s largest broadcast network was killed by those in government, starting with President Rodrigo Duterte himself whose threats triggered the turn of events leading to this development.

We will remember how the 70 members of the Congress committee acted against the interests of the Filipino people, not heeding all the appeals, protests, and facts that supported the renewal of the network’s franchise. The people will hold them responsible for any resulting layoffs, any denial or limitation in information, and any attacks on press freedom and expression resulting from this shutdown.

We salute the 11 representatives who voted no to the denial of the #ABSCBNfranchise. In doing so, they said yes to press freedom, workers’ welfare, and our right to be informed.

This setback heightens the existing state of inequality, hardship, and silence amid the nation’s woes. This is the least that we need at this point of the pandemic, when our Covid-19 infections are breaching the highest records so far for the Philippines and in Southeast Asia, and when the government is stumbling over the inaccuracies and intricacies of its own data.

We continue to support the call to #DefendPressFreedom and #IbalikAngABSCBN, wherever this next stage of the battle is taken. There is the struggle for free expression to be waged. And there is an anti-terrorism law to junk and defy.