Press Freedom

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Press Freedom essay
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The oldest broadcasting network in the Philippines has been a household staple of every Filipino family. However, after 34 years, the media giant has yet to face another battle with a dictator after President Rodrigo Duterte refuses to renew its franchise. Is it the monsters’ entrenched move to silence the press when there is a thirst for information? The threat to shutdown ABS CBN jeopardizes every Filipino’s right to the truth and erudition and imposes a major blow to cultural heritage. In the words of William Allen White, peace without justice is tyranny.

It seems that the perfect way to make a dictator curb like a ball in the corner of the room is the power of the press. Aside from the fact that Duterte idolizes the late President Marcos in terms of leadership, they both share the same fear, vigilance. The threat to shutdown ABS CBN started on March 30, 2017, when President Duterte publicly shamed the network for allegedly bias reporting (Monsod, 2020). It was then constantly followed by a series of threats for several cases such as swindling for not televising his political ads during the presidential campaigns, and multiple syndicated estafa against Gabby Lopez, ABS CBN’s CEO. According to Duterte, he paid 2.8-million-peso worth of ads but ABS CBN never showed his propaganda nor returned the money after the elections. However, during the Senate hearing, it was revealed that Duterte purchased a total of 182 million worth of ads, and only 6.6 million was not televised (Torres & Acosta, 2020). Mathematically, this is only a 3.4 percent failure on the network’s part, and not as big as they were accused of. On February 10, the Solicitor General Jose Calida, a well-known Marcos apologist, proceeded in questioning the network’s right to hold a legal office by filing a ‘quo warranto’ case. And because of what? Missing taxes? Up to date, the Bureau of Internal Revenue, the National Telecommunications Commission, and the Department of Labor and Employment, has testified in favor of ABS CBN. The institutions made it very clear that the network has no existing cases and affairs regarding their taxes, labor, and pay-per-view systems. BIR Deputy Commissioner Arnel Guballa stated that ABS CBN has paid their taxes regularly and has no pending liabilities (Cordero, 2020). However, on top of this, the most prominent charge against the network was its issuance of Philippine Depository Receipts (PDRs) in which Calida said was a violation in foreign equity restrictions and the Philippine laws. What’s odd about this is that the GMA Network, ABS CBN’s rival, gets Duterte to sign Republic Act No. 10925 or the renewal of their broadcasting franchise, when they have been issuing PDRs too through GMA Stock Holdings which was founded in 2006 (Monsod, 2020). The shutdown of the country’s oldest broadcasting network corresponds to 11,000 workers losing their jobs, and millions of Filipinos losing their right to the truth. With all that has been stated, it seems that the only enemy that ABS CBN has is Duterte’s ego and this fascist government.

The press holds absolute and cardinal power in every household as it can either promote conformity or ignite a revolution. Silencing the media is nothing but an obnoxious move initiated by those intimidated by the truth. ABS CBN, legally speaking, deserves to continue providing awareness to the masses in every way they can. Losing the freedom of the press and ending the saga of Cardo Dalisay due to egotistical reasons corresponds to the absence of every Filipino’s voice as they speak for justice. As a democratic country, isn’t the Filipinos’ job to unite to defeat the tyranny and to halt the history that seems to repeat itself?

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Press Freedom. (2022, May 11). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/press-freedom/

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