Tag Archives: ABS-CBN franchise

[In the news] Joel Lamangan’s message at today’s senate hearing is a moving statement on freedom of speech

The director Joel Lamangan has helmed films, movies, and stage plays but his mode of expression this Monday morning, February 24, was, plain and simple, his words.

Representing the Director’s Guild of the Philippines, Lamangan appeared at the senate hearing for the franchise renewal of ABS-CBN and spoke about freedom of expression, a subject very close to this artist and activist’s heart. He said he was saddened by the fact that the discussion before him was not about how freedom of expression can be broadened and deepened but how it can be curtailed— which is the equivalent of shutting down the biggest media network in the country.

Lamangan’s filmography includes a lot of comedies, and romantic and domestic dramas, but he’s also behind many socially relevant works such as The Flor Contemplacion Story, Bakit May Kahapon Pa? and Mila.

Below is his full statement before the Senate:

“Ang Director’s Guild of the Philippines po ay narito upang ating bigyang pansin ang isang nakalulungkot na bagay na nangyayari sa atin. Ako po ay nalulungkot dahil sa pagpupulong na ito ay ating dini-discuss ang pagpatay sa isang plataporma na nagbibigay, naglulunsad ng kalayaan sa pananalita, kalayaan sa pamamahayag, at kalayaan sa pagpapahayag.

Nalulungkot ako at dumating tayo sa ganoong panahon. Sa halip na ating pag-usapan kung paano payayamanin ang mga plataporma na maglulunsad ng mga kalayaang ito, idi-discuss natin ay pagkitil at pagpatay dito. Hindi ba’t yun ang kalungkot-lungkot?

“Kaming mga direktor ng pelikula at telebisyon at tanghalan, ang aming mga materyal na pinagkukunan ng aming kwento ay ang buhay ng tao. Ang araw-araw na katotohanang nakikita namin sa lansangan. Ang araw-araw na nakikita namin mula sa aming paggising hanggang sa aming pagtulog. Yun ho ang batayan ng aming sinasalaysay na kwento na aming shine-share sa daan-daang mga manonood.

Read more @news.abs-cbn.com

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[Statement] Resist the attacks on press freedom. Uphold workers’ rights -Sanlakas, BMP and PLM

Photo from SANLAKAS FB Page

Joint Statement of Sanlakas, Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino and Partido Lakas ng Masa

The Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino, Partido lakas ng Masa and Sanlakas condemn the Duterte Government’s heavy-handed attempt to silence and shut down ABS-CBN.

This is the latest in a series of aggressive frontal attacks on media institutions to intimidate them into at the very least tamed reportage and at most, submission, eroding the people’s right to a free press. To date, 112 cases of attacks and threats have been documented under the Duterte Administration including at least 13 killings of journalists. The Philippines holds the record of among the world’s deadliest countries for media. That the attacks on media workers and institutions are increasing can only be attributed to the undeterred hostility of the Government towards media as highlighted by the moves to shut down ABS-CBN.

In plain view, the Duterte Government is cementing the path towards authoritarianism the hallmarks of which include media censorship. Shutting down ABS-CBN sends a chilling effect to all media institutions signaling an imminent scenario where socio-political realities of the day are defined by Malacanang’s propaganda gurus and spin doctors. Unlike Marcos who needed martial law to achieve this, Duterte is unleashing the entire might of the government – his supermajority in the House of Representatives, the Solicitor-General and his Supreme Court – towards this end.

In the process, 11,000 workers will be displaced. This could spell poverty and hunger to tens of thousands of Filipinos who rely on their breadwinner to ensure food on the table. In Duterte’s fascist arm-twisting of ABS-CBN fueled by his personal vendetta against the company, the workers and their families have been reduced to mere sacrificial lambs – the unavoidable collateral damage to the Government’s malevolent designs against media.

We lend our unconditional support to the struggle of ABS-CBN workers for continued and secure employment. This struggle for job security is intertwined with the defense of democratic rights as the threat of displacement comes from a regime that seeks to quell civil rights and political freedoms, not only in retaliation for the non-airing of Duterte’s campaign ads in 2016 but also to prepare for its electoral plans in 2022.

It is in situations like these when the horrors of contractualization are brought to the fore. Thousands of contractual workers, in the event of ABS-CBN’s shutdown, will be booted out of work without the benefits enjoyed by their regular counterparts. We, thus, reiterate our call to regularize all workers, provide increase in wages and salaries, implement safe and humane conditions of work, and ensure the rights of workers to unionize and bargain collectively with the ABS-CBN employers.

It is worth noting that the Duterte cronies are salivating over the purchase of ABS-CBN and the equities of Lopez holdings, and with the House approval of total foreign ownership to “public service”, including wire and wireless broadcast comminication, the stage is set for the total, unfettered, and open subjugation of mainstream media by foreign monopolies.

It is highly ironic that 34 years after the 1986 People Power that ousted a dictator, we are again up against an aspiring tyrant, who is in desperate attempt to have formal absolute power over the entire state apparatus. The little that was gained by a people’s uprising that was hijacked by the anti-Marcos elite, is now being taken back by the Duterte regime. The sacrifice of the martyrs of the anti-dictatorship struggle will not be in vain. Onward with the struggle for democracy. Resist the attacks on press freedom. Uphold workers’ rights.

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[Statement] Amnesty International Philippines on Ph govt’s move to shut down ABSCBN

Amnesty Statement on Ph govt’s move to shut down ABSCBN:

Amnesty International condemns the Philippine government’s latest efforts to clamp down on the media, including the Solicitor General’s ongoing attempts to shut down ABS-CBN, one of the country’s largest TV networks.

Amnesty International calls on the government to immediately end any moves to shut down ABS-CBN, as well as other media networks in the country, and urges it to respect, protect and fulfil the right to freedom expression and media freedom.

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[Statement] HRW reaction to petition by Solicitor General Calida asking the Philippine Supreme Court to issue a gag order on ABS-CBN case

HRW reaction to the petition by Solicitor General Calida asking the Philippine Supreme Court to issue a gag order on ABS-CBN case:

“This is ridiculous, a clear case of adding insult to injury. First, the government petitions to end the ABS-CBN franchise and now it is proposing to silence all critics with an absurd gag order on specious grounds. Why are President Duterte and the Philippine government so scared of independent opinions and a free press? Let’s hope the Supreme Court upholds the principle of freedom of expression and rules against the Solicitor-General’s request.”

Phil Robertson
Deputy Asia Director
Human Rights Watch
@reaproy

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[From the web] Duterte Seeks to Shut Network, Case Against ABS-CBN Attacks Media Freedom -HRW

The Philippine Congress should reject President Rodrigo Duterte’s apparent misuse of regulatory powers against the country’s largest broadcast network, Human Rights Watch said today. On February 10, 2020, the Office of the Solicitor General filed a petition before the Supreme Court seeking to nullify the franchise of ABS-CBN, which has long faced Duterte’s ire for criticizing his “war on drugs” and other policies.

Congress is authorized to renew the licenses of broadcasting companies, but the House of Representatives has yet to act on nearly a dozen renewal bills already filed. The administration’s legal action could prevent Congress from extending the 25-year-old network’s permit, which expires on March 30.

“Philippine legislators have a responsibility to uphold media freedom and resist administration efforts to pressure news outlets to toe the government’s line,” said Carlos Conde, Philippines researcher at Human Rights Watch. “President Duterte’s administration should cease its politically motivated legal actions against the network.”

Duterte has publicly attacked ABS-CBN, accusing it of “swindling” him by not airing his advertisements during the 2016 presidential campaign, a charge the network has denied. He has also urged the media company to “just sell” its assets, vowing that he would make sure its franchise would not be renewed. Duterte and his allies have accused the network of being sympathetic to the political opposition. Its owners, the Lopez family, are longtime political opponents of the former Ferdinand Marcos dictatorship. Administration officials have also complained about the network’s critical coverage of the “drug war.”

The suit filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida, the government’s chief lawyer, called a quo warranto petition, seeks to nullify ABS-CBN’s original franchise, contending that the network has engaged in “abusive practices” that violate its franchise. Calida also alleged that ABS-CBN allowed foreigners to invest in the company, in violation of Philippine Constitution.

ABS-CBN said in a statement that it “complies with all pertinent laws governing its franchise and has secured all necessary government and regulatory approvals for its business operations.” It called the petition an attempt to shut down its operations.

The Philippines’ license renewal process allows congress to put inappropriate pressure on broadcast networks, Human Rights Watch said. The United Nations Human Rights Committee, the independent expert body that monitors government compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which the Philippines is a party, has stated that governments “must avoid imposing onerous licensing conditions … on the broadcast media. The criteria for the application of such conditions and license fees should be reasonable and objective, clear, transparent, nondiscriminatory and otherwise in compliance with the Covenant.”

The Duterte administration’s apparent efforts to intimidate and control ABS-CBN mimic its actions against the news website Rappler, Human Rights Watch said. Rappler and its editor, Maria Ressa, are facing numerous court cases as a result of their critical coverage of the “drug war.” Rappler and ABS-CBN have documented many of the thousands of killings by the police and their agents in Duterte’s anti-drug campaign. The Philippine Daily Inquirer has also faced attacks from Duterte because of its “drug war” reporting and commentary.

“The administration’s attempt to cancel ABS-CBN’s franchise or deny its extension is not just an attack on a single network, but an all-out assault on media freedom,” Conde said. “Complaints against broadcasters should be addressed in the proper forum, such as the National Telecommunications Commission.”

For more Human Rights Watch reporting on the Philippines, please visit:
https://www.hrw.org/asia/philippines

https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/02/11/philippines-duterte-seeks-shut-network

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[Statement] on ABS-CBN’s Franchise Crisis -EcoWaste Coalition

The EcoWaste Coalition, a non-profit environmental health organization, is gravely alarmed by the mounting danger of ABS-CBN losing its congressional franchise, which is set to expire on 30 March 2020.

Grossly upset by the quo warranto petition filed by the Office of the Solicitor General asking the Supreme Court to forfeit the franchise of the media institution, the EcoWaste Coalition appeals to the House Committee on Legislative Franchises, which has jurisdiction on “all matters directly and principally relating to the grant, amendment, extension or revocation of franchises,” to convene itself and speedily consider bills seeking to renew the franchise of the media network.

As an advocate for the public’s right to know, we consider the moves to shut down ABS-CBN as a severe blow to the freedom of speech and of the press and contrary to the state policy that “recognizes the vital role of communication and information in nation-building.” A free press is essential in the pursuit of the constitutionally-guaranteed rights to health and to a balanced and healthful ecology, and the full respect of human rights.

As shutting down ABS-CBN will leave a huge void in environmental education and advocacy, noting the network’s programs and projects in defense of the environment and in support of disadvantaged communities, we urge members of Congress to cross party lines, and work double-time to uphold due process and to ensure that its power to grant, amend, extend or revoke franchises is duly respected and not by-passed or usurped by other government instrumentalities.

For the sake of a free press, for the sake of environmental protection and public service, and for the sake of the thousands of workers employed by the network and its subsidiaries, we urge both the House of Representatives and the Senate not to fail in exercising their duty to prevent the non-renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise, a tragic debacle that will deeply divide and sadden our nation.

Aileen Lucero
National Coordinator
EcoWaste Coalition
EcoWaste Coalition <info@ecowastecoalition.org>
Tue, Feb 11, 11:40 AM (3 days ago)
to HRonlinePH

EcoWaste Coalition
78-A Masigla Extension, 1100 Quezon City, Philippines
Phone: +632-82944807 E-Mail: info@ecowastecoalition.org
Website: http://www.ecowastecoalition.org

11 February 2020

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