10 February 2020
The University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication (UP CMC) strongly decries the action of the OSG as another blatant attack on the freedom of the press. In filing a ‘quo warranto’ against ABS-CBN, the current Administration demonstrates the lengths that they will go to silence critical media voices.
It has been 34 years since we won back our right to information and a free press through the 1986 EDSA Revolution. However, government actions such as these show us the volatility of this hard-won freedom, the need to remain vigilant so as to not allow history to repeat itself.
The attacks, especially those from government forces, are reminiscent of the pre-Martial Law era even as they seek to undermine its independence and ability to report on our government’s actions and hold public figures accountable. This is not the first time that the Governmetn has assailed press freedom. As we have seen in the recent past, multiple tactics have been used to attack the media – from the legal harassments of ABS-CBN and Rappler to the use of spurious data and fake news against media institutions like VERA Files and the Philippine Center for Investigative journalism.
At a time when the country faces natural and medical emergencies, the broadcast media serves as a source of important information. Thus, in commemorating another anniversary of EDSA I this coming February 25, we call on the public to:
1) Protect our fundamental right for information and a free press;
2) Support efforts to uphold the rule of law;
3) Continue to uphold the rule of law
To maintain and protect our democracy, we need a free press to serve as a faithful chronicler of contemporary events, a platform for the diversity of voices to be heard, and, more importantly, the public’s watchdog of inept, abusive and corrupt governance.