(Photo by Mary Jazmin D. Tabuena/ The Varsitarian)

THE UNIVERSITY on Wednesday released a statement lamenting the government order to shut down ABS-CBN, the country’s biggest media network.

“It is a clear disservice to the Filipino people in this time of the pandemic, when information, delivered fast and wide, is key to saving lives,” UST said in the statement posted on the University’s social media accounts.

“ABS-CBN has significantly contributed to the improvement of the lives of many Filipinos. We pray that ABS-CBN will be able to resume its broadcast operations very soon to continue its invaluable service to the Filipino people and the nation,” the statement read.

UST journalism faculty members released a statement right after the broadcast network signed off on Tuesday.

“Now that ABS-CBN is out of the airwaves, and for the second time since Martial Law, there is no more denying that the Duterte regime will stop at nothing — even amid a national emergency and a crippling lockdown — to crush dissent and stifle a free and independent media. Shutting down media is the work of dictators,” the journalism faculty said.

“We stand with ABS-CBN and urge it to exert all legal remedies to overturn the NTC’s cease-and-desist order, and call on lawmakers, particularly members of the House of Representatives, to stop foot-dragging and approve a new franchise for ABS-CBN,” it added.

The statement called on the “freedom-loving public to speak out and resist all attacks on the media and media workers, and hold the malevolent forces behind this treachery to account.”

UST communication faculty members also expressed support for the media giant.

“We urge the Supreme Court and Congress to reverse this vindictive act and for lawmakers to grant the renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise,” they said in a separate statement.

“We also offer a warm, reassuring embrace to our competent, compassionate, and committed alumni and colleagues in ABS-CBN, and our hearts stand with 11,000 employees who have lost their means of living in the midst of this pandemic,” they said.

On May 5, The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) ordered ABS-CBN to stop operations after the expiry of its legislative franchise. Bills seeking a new franchise for the network languished in Congress for years.

The NTC departed from the previous practice of granting temporary licenses to broadcast entities whose applications for franchise renewal remained pending in Congress.

It promised lawmakers to do so during a public hearing on March 10, but made an about-face after Solicitor General Jose Calida threatened to file graft charges.

ABS-CBN signed off at 7:52 p.m. on Tuesday. The last time the network went off air was when the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos placed the country under martial law.

“In the absence of a congressional franchise, the NTC was correct in issuing a cease and desist order and recall order against ABS-CBN,” Calida said in a statement.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.