Activists hold virtual protest against ABS-CBN network shutdown, calling it an attack on press freedom

NEW YORK — “Tama na, sobra na, people power na! Tama na, sobra na, oust Duterte na!”

The coronavirus pandemic did not stop members of the Malaya Movement from holding a virtual protest against the Duterte administration’s recent shutdown of the Philippines biggest media network – ABS-CBN.

Protesters said an attack on ABS-CBN is an attack on press freedom.

“Let us keep in mind that if the Duterte government can shut down a large broadcast corporation like ABS-CBN, imagine na lang po natin kung ano ang mangyayari sa mas malliliit na media outlet. Imagine what would happen to much smaller media outlets.”

“Duterte is really at this time sending a message, he is sending a message to anyone critical of his regime that ABS-CBN the largest news broadcasting center in the Philippines – the most popular for overseas Filipinos in the U.S. is sending a message that they will be silenced or killed.”

Among the virtual protesters was Brandon Lee, from the International Coalition of Human Rights in the Philippines. Lee is a Chinese-American journalist and activist who survived an attempted assassination for his work exposing human rights abuses in the cordilleras under the Duterte regime.

“I like to thank ABS-CBN for away covering issues in Ifugao and the people’s right to their self-determination and also in my case after I was red-tagged, they followed my case up to my attempted assassination. We call on everyone to support and defend press freedom.”

The Malaya Movement believes that President Rodrigo Duterte had a clear hand in shutting down operations of a network that’s been critical of abuses under his regime.

This is on his hands and Duterte seeks to bully ABS-CBN into becoming a mouthpiece for his dictatorship,” said Yves Nibungco.

“Is Duterte afraid that ABS-CBN will expose his failures, his failures to keep our families safe, his failures to address poverty and hunger,” said Nicole Cababa.

The Marcos dictatorship once attempted to silence ABS-CBN by shutting it down during martial law in 1972 — but ABS-CBN came back in 1986 better and stronger.

ABS-CBN global managing director Jun del Rosario said, this too shall pass.

“We will continue to produce as much content as we can. We won’t be silenced, definitely, we may not be able to transmit but we will not stop in seeking the truth.”

These virtual protesters said they’re planning for more actions until justice is served and until press freedom is restored in their homeland.

2 Comments on this post.

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  • Aurelia Gordon
    7 May 2020 at 5:02 pm - Reply

    Let’s unite for democracy !

    7 May 2020 at 7:50 pm - Reply

    Duterte will end his Presidency until 2024, he is NOT stupid to release or renew ABS-CBN franchise. Reason for that,(1) ABS-CBN used to be a Government Corporation known as MAHARLIKA Broadcasting.(2)Duterte have it already why release a Corporation that will destroy his Presidency.(3) Duterte children are politician do you think ABS-CBN will support them, Never. DUTERTE will just follow the law, he will tell everybody it was a Government Corp. it should go back into the hands of the Government. The effect of this are; (1) All leftist politicians, leftist future politicians will lose their connection into the public due to lack of media coverage. No more ABS-CBN to built them up and give them free and good publicity.(2) Actors, entertainers connected with ABS-CBN will be gone, no more TV shows for them, they will join another TV station to maintain their popularity.(3)LOBREDO the ABS-CBN future Presidential candidate will lack publicity slowly she will be forgotten.(4) US PINOY leftist will continue to cry and cry, no more TV coverage.