ERMIN GARCIA: ABS-CBN charged for violation of franchise, not for abusive language or false statements

Press freedom cannot be invoked to defend and promote a media outlet’s business operations

KNOW THE DIFFERENCE. Not only does ABS-CBN have all the latitude and airtime to discuss and reject charges filed by Sol-Gen Calida. It has talents, writers, reporters, commentators to argue for it using ABS-CBN’s facilities That’s the exercise of press freedom as a constitutional right.


“Freedom of the press or freedom of the media is the principle that communication and expression through various media, including printed and electronic media, especially published materials, should be considered a right to be exercised freely.”- Wikipedia

The moment ABS-CBN’s reporters, commentators, anchors and officials are barred from airing their views in defense of the company, that’s curtailment of PRESS FREEDOM, a violation of the Constitution. (Although the rule on sub judice can also be invoked if warranted to prevent discussion of merits of the case)

If a journalist is charged in court for libel or media establishment for violation of laws, the charges cannot be regarded as a curtailment of, or violation of press freedom because the constitution provides for it.

Of course, complaints of libel and violation of franchise are regarded as harassment, but it’s also no different from how news subjects react to critical news reports and opinions aired or published by journalists about them.

In the case of ABS-CBN it is being charged for violation of its franchise, not for abusive language or false statements of reporters, commentators considered as libelous or false. So press freedom is simply not an issue because press freedom is for journalism practice limited only by libel law. Media establishments, on the other hand are governed by a different set of rules – ownership laws, employment laws, franchise laws, tax laws, ordinances, etc.

Hence, press freedom cannot, and should not be invoked to defend and promote a media outlet’s business operations. It’s totally irrelevant.

There’s a whale of difference in application. (Whether the case as quo warranto is correct, is a different story.)


SolGen just doing his job by filing petition vs. ABS-CBN

Let Congress mandate on ABS-CBN franchise work




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