(MAY 9)—The UP Diliman Executive Committee today issued a statement calling the shutdown of ABS-CBN “a disservice to the Filipino people.”
In the statement, the ExeCom emphasized that for the truth to stand above mendacity, there should be an “arena for contending views to debate.” It also said that the conditions for academic excellence are the same for media integrity.
“They require conditions of openness and respect for diversity. This means that the freedom to question, to think, to write, and to speak should be safeguarded for all, regardless of beliefs and background. While ABS-CBN has been criticized for its political biases, it has also given space for diverse political views, a process that is fundamental to democracy,” the statement said.
On May 5, the National Telecommunications Commission issued a Cease-and-Desist Order to ABS-CBN Corporation after the congressional franchise of the network expired on May 4. The franchise renewal has been pending with the Congress since 2014. NTC was set to issue provisional authority to the network as ABS-CBN awaits the Congress to renew its franchise, as per reports of Manila Bulletin and CNN Philippines, but NTC was warned by Solicitor General Jose Calida that doing so is illegal.
The shutdown was ordered two days after the commemoration of World Press Freedom Day and “was a stunning blow against the freedom of the press and people’s right to information.”
With the shutdown, thousands of employees lost their job, “aggravating further the precarious situation of growing economic instability and hunger” resulting from the community quarantine measures to stop the spread of COVID-19.
The UPD Executive Committee is composed of the Chancellor, the Vice Chancellors and the deans and directors of the academic units. It serves as an advisory council of the Chancellor on academic and administrative matters.
On May 8, the UPD Carillon tolled its bells in solidarity with ABS-CBN and its employees. More than 10,000 individuals watched the tolling of the bells online via UPD’s Facebook page.
For the full statement, please click here.