Sunday, 10 May 2020 15:57

Radio Veritas, CBCP issue statement on ABS CBN's closure

In a statement released by Radio Veritas 846, the church-owned radio station by the Archdiocese of Manila, the management emphasized the importance of press freedom in delivering information that people have the right to receive and share. This was in relation to the ABS-CBN network which signed off on May 5, 2020, due to franchise issue.

"As we have historically protected the FREEDOM of the Press since the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution, Radio Veritas 846 still stands for Press Freedom as a crucial safeguard of Fact vs.Fiction; Truth vs. Lies; Objectively Viable vs. Subjectively Satisfying and Honestly vs. Duplicity," the statement said, which was signed by Rev. Fr. Anton Pascual, President and CEO of Radio Veritas 846.

"Authentic Press Freedom is important in the delivery of news, stories, insights, and spiritual reflection to our countrymen," Fr. Pascual said.

Fr. Pascual also appealed to the faithful to pray for the lawmakers regarding the decisions that they would be making prior to the pending renewal of the said franchise.

"We pray that our lawmakers would expeditiously resolve the renewal of the franchise of ABS-CBN, most especially in this time when our current health crisis entails the collective solidarity of every Filipino; and not divided nation posed by this unnecessary situation," he said.

Meanwhile, The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines also issued a statement on May 7.  Archbishop Romulo Valles, CBCP President and Archbishop of Davao, mentioned that because of the network's closure during COVID-19 pandemic, the faithful experience difficulty in receiving information which is very crucial during these times.

"My first thought in the currently much talked-about closure of ABS-CBN is our people – our people who are in these extremely difficult and trying times because of the coronavirus pandemic," he said.

"Because of the closure of this broadcast station, our people have lost one of our country’s major sources of information which is crucial to our people in this present situation. If I may add, they also have lost a source of entertainment and diversion during these days of confinement in their homes for more than two months already due to the lockdown measures," he added.

Archbishop Valles stressed that legislators of the government should communicate and collaborate among themselves to address the issue, especially that many netizens have expressed their dissatisfaction in social media regarding the issue.

"These days our people truly need more than ever broadcast services that would bring them the much-needed information in this time of crisis," he said.

"With this consideration, I sincerely hope and pray that our government, especially our Congress, will work together to resolve the issue so that ABS-CBN may be allowed to resume its broadcast the soonest to the benefit of our people who really need as many as possible sources of good and reliable information in this time of suffering and distress," the archbishop added.

In his Facebook account, Bishop Broderick Pabillo, Apostolic Administrator of Manila also expressed his thought on the issue.

According to him, the decision of NTC to shutdown ABS-CBN is “very unbecoming at best and traitorous to the people at worst.” ABS-CBN, he said, has been a great help to many Filipinos especially during this time of COVID-19 pandemic.

“ABS-CBN is helping a lot of Filipinos in the country and abroad in updating the people about the corona virus, in entertaining the people in the time of lock down, and in uplifting the spirits of many through its broadcasts,” he said.

He also stated in his post that “freedom of information in this country is threatened. It sends the chilling message that news and information outlets should kowtow to those in power or else they will be brought down, just as ABC-CBN.”

The Bishop also added that the issue is beyond ABS-CBN; it is all about defending press freedom.

“We are defending freedom because the grip of power is getting tighter around us. Nasasakal na kami! The specter of Martial Law is coming up! This action of the government is not uniting the people. In fact it is using the pandemic as a cover for its dastardly deed,” he said.

The ABS-CBN franchise expired on May 4 as upheld by the Department of Justice (DOJ). It was followed by a cease-and-desist order by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) on May 5. ABS-CBN is currently using its social media platforms to be able to broadcast. Their social media accounts are able to continue delivering news and other relevant information during this crisis. (Hazel Boquiren and Jheng Prado/RCAM-AOC)



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