Mindanao Journalists statement on non-renewal of ABS-CBN franchise

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DAVAO CITY— Members of the Mindanao Independent Press Council (MIPC) Inc. on Monday issued a solidarity statement on the non-renewal of ABS-CBN Franchise.

The group in a statement said:

In the interest of the Public, we commonly serve, and, in solidarity with the women and men behind ABS-CBN

We, the members of the Mindanao Independent Press Council Inc. (MIPC Inc.), representing the various media entities in Mindanao is mourning the decision of the  House Committee on Franchise denying the franchise of ABS-CBN for another 25 years.

While many of our affiliate community press outlets have closed due to the uncontrolled impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Representatives of the People decided to deny the franchise of a network upon which thousands depend for their livelihood and survival.

The travesty of proceedings and the mindless theatrics of the so-called representatives of the people simply made an end to a mission that served the Filipino nation.

We do not just condemn the act, as this also serves as a stern warning to our ranks as independent and critical purveyors of truth.

The 70-vote in favor of the denial of the franchise is a slap to the media community in the country.

We would like to make it clear, we do not stand for the Lopezes; We are not part of their battle with the government when Meralco was the issue; We didn’t care about their legal war with Maynilad.

But, when ABS-CBN, as a media outfit became the issue, we deemed it necessary to stand with the network, because there lie media freedom and freedom of the press.

While many of us have been bashed, insulted, and isolated by friends because we stand with ABS-CBN, their criticism has weaponized us to forge our links and stand together in the name of press freedom.

While people kept on harping that the issue is not about press freedom but a franchise, many of them do not see the thin line between media franchise and press freedom.

We need not pick a fight with those who believe that the ABS-CBN issue does not entail press freedom, but it is clear to us that there was pressure amongst politicians at the lower chamber.

Let us not be governed by hatred in the midst of this pandemic, let us show compassion amongst people.

Lest we stand with ABS-CBN because they deserve the franchise. Had there been a breach of freedom in the line of their service to the people, or,  economic violations committed, they could have taken the measures to correct it and penalize the network if necessary.

It is a fact, that while we stand with our colleagues at ABS-CBN who at any time will lose their jobs.

We do not stand for the Lopezes,

We stand for press freedom because we believe that Media Freedom is one of the basic tenets of a democratic country.

The myopic and culture of decadence amongst politicians is a new pandemic, and, the malevolence of our elected officials is taking us all to a common graveyard if we cease to defend what is truly free and democratic.

We stand together because we know, our existence is guaranteed in our Constitution.

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