Youth Organizations Take a Stand Against the ABS-CBN Shutdown
Maan de Vera
Our screens may have turned black at exactly 7:52 PM on May 5, 2020. But this has definitely ignited the hearts of the different youth organizations that are determined to maintain the authority of the press at a time when information dissemination is more valuable than ever as we collectively face the COVID-19 pandemic.
With our current health situation, it would be impossible to take our grievances to the streets, but even this isn’t enough to silence the youth. As expected, social media has played a key role in voicing out our solidarity in fighting not only for press freedom, but also for the importance of maintaining employment at a time like this. With this, the #DefendPressFreedom has immediately trended.
Here are some of the youth organizations who bravely made their stands:
1. Youth Resist
“To shut down a broadcasting corporation providing relevant and up-to-date information on the COVID-19 pandemic will negatively affect people's right to access accurate and timely information. Depriving the millions of people who rely on the operations of ABS-CBN for information is to put the public's health at risk.”
2. Akbayan Youth
“The issue about ABS-CBN's legislative franchise has been a topic for debate since mid-2019. Currently, there have been 11 bills filed in the Congress, which seeks for the company's franchise renewal. The committee on legislative franchises has only held one meeting, but was unable to invite a representative from ABS-CBN.”
3. National Union of Students of the Philippines
“Aside from being an outright disregard for Congress’ jurisdiction and authority over legislative franchises, it is both an attack on press freedom and on Filipinos whose lives depend on information at a time when the country faces a pandemic.”
4. The Lathe - Batangas State University
“We stand against all forms of media suppression.”
5. UST Journalism Society
“For now, the network may be off the air but the truth will always come out loud and clear.”
6. St. Luke’s Medicine Student Council
“Now is not the time to be denying the Filipino people a means for acquiring information, especially during this pandemic. This also puts thousands of Filipinos at risk of unemployment at a time of a health crisis. ABS-CBN, as a major media platform so intertwined with the lives of the people, represents press freedom. It is our right and obligation as people of this country to defend it at all cost.”
7. Hi-Lites - Ateneo de Manila Senior High School
“Let this matter become a wake up-call and a reminder that we must stay vigilant at all times. This is where we hold the line.”
8. University Student Council - UE Manila
“Sa panahon ng pandemya o anumang sakuna, midya ang sandigan ng mamamayan sa katotohanan. Ang pagkikil sa malayang pamamahayag ay isang klarong manipestasyon ng pagtapak sa kalayaan at pangabuso sa kapangyarihan.”
To echo what the ABS-CBN Corporation President and CEO, Carlo Katigbak, has mentioned -- now that the livelihood of thousands of employees and the interest of millions of Filipinos hang in balance, it is up to us to ensure and safeguard our rights and principles. This is the perfect time for the youth to show that we will not just stay on the sidelines. Our voices will be heard.