by KRISTINE ERIKA AGUSTIN
JOURNALISM EDUCATORS from the University of Santo Tomas (UST) denounced on Wednesday the government’s filing of a quo warranto petition against broadcast network ABS-CBN.
“As journalism educators, we have always taught students that a free press is the cornerstone of democracy, and that part of the journalist’s job is to zealously guard this freedom and close ranks when it comes under attack,” they said.
Solicitor General Jose Calida on Monday filed with the Supreme Court a quo warranto petition seeking to revoke the legislative franchise of the country’s largest television network by challenging the corporation’s legal right or qualification to continue its operations.
The UST Journalism Faculty criticized the move as a “direct assault” on press freedom.
“[E]fforts by agents of the Duterte regime — who are no strangers to propaganda, misdirection and disinformation — to frame it as a legal question are in vain,” they said.
President Rodrigo Duterte has long been vocal against ABS-CBN over his electoral advertisements that the network allegedly failed to air during the 2016 presidential election.
The Journalism Faculty also stressed that ABS-CBN is a “model franchise holder” in response to claims made by Calida regarding the network’s alleged abusive financial practices.
The professors urged the Congress not to be swayed by the quo warranto petition in its evaluation of the network’s franchise renewal.
ABS-CBN’s franchise is set to expire on March 30 this year.