Press freedom very much alive in Philippines - Parlade

Press freedom very much alive in Philippines - Parlade

The shutting down of the Lopez owned television network ABS-CBN by virtue of a cease and desist order issued by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) is but an effect of the expiration of its legislative franchise.

Supporters of the tv station and the opposition is making it that this is a direct attack on the freedom of the press, a point that is very far from the truth.

This, according to Southern Luzon Command chief, Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade, Jr., in reaction to Amnesty International (AI) Philippines Section Director Butch Olano's statement that  "ordering ABS-CBN to stop its operations is an outrageous attack on media freedom".
(photo credit to owner)

"What martial law are you talking about? Press freedom in the country is very much alive," Parlade said in response to Olano's claim that it "is a dark day for media freedom in the Philippines, reminiscent of martial law when the dictatorship seized control over news agencies".
Parlade said such claims are "non-sequitur"  as the Lopez-owned ABS-CBN issue is simply the regulation of a franchise that is a prerogative of the State and enshrined in the 1987 Constitution.
"Granting a franchise is the exercise of the sovereign power of a state to allow the use of sovereign assets for an assigned period of time. In the case of ABS-CBN, these sovereign assets are frequencies assigned to it for use in its broadcast businesses. The franchise is a usufruct(usage) right  and since it is a right to use, regulation and accompanying rules to prevent abuse comes as a matter of course," he said in a statement 

"Since a franchise is a privilege and is not a right when the term for the granted franchise expires, it is the prerogative of the State to renew or not renew such franchise," he said.
Parlade points out that despite the NTC's cease-and-desist order (CDO) against ABS-CBN, other reputable Philippine television channels and media outfits are still operating, he added.
"Has NTC stopped the operation of GMA-7, Channel 5, CNN Philippines, and other TV stations? (No one has) stopped PDI (Philippine Daily Inquirer), Philippine Star, and any other print media (from operating). Your communist allies and writers in the print media are still writing their pieces. Our favorite stations are still on air. So what suppression of press freedom are you talking about?" he said.

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Report from PNA

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