Student journalists in Davao show support for ABS-CBN and press freedom

May. 06, 2020

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Student publications in Davao City have express solidarity with the broadcast network ABS-CBN which was ordered to close after the government failed to renew its franchise.

The University of the Philippines Mindanao student paper Himati said the closure of the network is not “an exclusive attack against the press but also against the Filipino people.”

“In this time where the government is desperately attempting to silence the media, we condemn the refusal to renew the ABS-CBN franchise and amplify our call for not only the freedom of the press but the people’s right to factual information,” Himati said in a post on their Facebook page Wednesday.

ABS-CBN was ordered shut by the National Telecommunications (NTC) on Tuesday, as its franchise expired on May 4. Attempts to renew the franchise for another 25 years was not acted upon by the administration-dominated House of Representatives.

The television giant reportedly earned the ire of President Rodrigo Duterte for failing to air his ads during the presidential campaign in 2016.

The College Editors’ Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) Southern Mindanao chapter slammed the NTC order as she said this was “bending to the dictate” of Solicitor General Jose Calida, who warned against granting the network a provisional authority to operate beyond its franchise expiration.

Marielle Pagoto, coordinator of CEGP Southern Mindanao, questioned the process as Congress discussed with the NTC last March to allow the network to operate with a provisional authority pending the renewal of its franchise.

Pagoto said Calida’s meddling is meant “to curtail the media from exposing the government’s inadequacy in addressing the pandemic, and the injustices perpetuated by state forces and the government itself.”

The group urged the NTC to stand by its mandate and autonomy and not be dictated by Calida’s meddling. They also raised concerns that the network’s shutdown also results in job loss of the network’s 11,000 workers across regional stations.

The Ateneo de Davao University’s student publication, Atenews, points out the value of information that needs to be protected by journalists and the public.

“Critical information dissemination has always been a necessity, even now in these trying times more than ever. To silence a dissenting voice is to attack press freedom—a right that should be protected from any form of state interference.” Their statement read.

CEGP-Davao called on media workers, and all other sectors to “stand in solidarity with the fight of ABS-CBN and ultimately, the fight for press freedom said to be the cornerstone of democracy and the bulwark against tyranny and dictatorship.” (

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