Statement of Senator Risa Hontiveros on the non-renewal of the ABS-CBN franchise
A DANGEROUS PRECEDENT
“The non-renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise has set a dangerous precedent. Because the government allowed politicking in the process of renewing a legislative franchise and succeeded in the shutting down of a media institution, we have effectively begun to ring the death knell on press freedom in the country.
The political persecution of ABS-CBN sends a chilling message to Filipino media practitioners and journalists: toe the line or get shut down. May takot at pagbabanta ang mensaheng inihahatid ng gobyerno: kapag kaaway ka, pwede kang ipasara.
While Filipinos are struggling with an unprecedented public health crisis brought by COVID-19, we have limited their access to life-saving information through the closure of a major media network that services at least 69 million Filipinos.
Because officials committed to settle their personal score with ABS-CBN, 11,000 workers are now in danger of losing their jobs and may fail to provide for their families in the near future; all while Filipinos are facing a major economic recession due to the global pandemic.
We must speak out against this outrageous act of political persecution. We must protect the cause of a free press in this country. We must not be afraid to hold those in power into account.
At a time when Filipinos are sick, jobless, and hungry, history will judge those who tried to silence the truth. History will be harsh to those who ignored the most basic needs of Filipinos during this pandemic and instead used it to consolidate power for selfish reasons.
Naniniwala ako na sa huli, maniningil ang mga anak natin. Maniningil ang kasaysayan.”