The Bacolod City chapter of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines called for an end to, what they characterize as, government-coordinated attacks on the media. They claim, since President Rodrigo Duterte took office in 2016, “Media are the constant subject of his vindictiveness.”
The union blamed the president for declining trust in the media, noting, “From the Philippine Daily Inquirer to Rappler to ABS-CBN, the government has fiercely accused media entities of ‘fake news’ [under] the guise of violating the rule of law.”
They claim it has caused a “chilling effect” on the industry.
“An attack on the media is an attack on democracy,” they stated. “Let the media do its job freely, which is to protect the people’s right to know.”
“We can’t have a government dictating what we have to report,” the organization added. “We can’t have a government that bullies its people.”
Recently, Solicitor General Jose Calida filed a quo warranto petition against ABS-CBN. Such a petition would require the network to affirm they are satisfying certain requirements as “an association which acts as a corporation within the Philippines.”
According to the government official, ABS-CBN allegedly committed “highly abusive practices,” including supposed violations to foreign ownership laws.
The complaint also accused the network of launching their TV Plus subscription service and Kapamilya Box Office Channel without approval from the National Telecommunications Commission.
“A franchise is a special privilege granted by the state and should be restricted only to entities which faithfully adhere to our Constitution and laws,” the government official said in a statement.
The network’s franchise is set to expire on March 30./WDJ