In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement (iDEFEND) expresses alarm at the cease and desist order by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) against ABS-CBN despite the media organization’s application for the renewal of its franchise, which has been filed months earlier without any response from the House of Representatives.
Now, in the midst of a national health crisis where the government is failing to provide accurate, timely, and useful information to the public, the Solicitor General and the NTC attempt to close ABS CBN in an underhanded attack on press freedom. The politically motivated gag order by the NTC spells a serious breach of the people’s right to accessible and reliable information and will result in diminishing the people’s capacity to respond effectively to the national health crisis. Solicitor General Calida and the NTC should be held accountable for endangering the people’s welfare by depriving them of the basic service of mass media. At this time, when the government wants us to supposedly “heal as one”, it must focus its efforts on rallying the forces and institutions which are critical to the implementation of solutions, through rights-based governance instead of rewarding ineptitude, intimidation, and human rights abuse.
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