By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Senator Grace Poe on Wednesday admitted that the issues facing broadcast network ABS-CBN could have a “chilling effect” on other media companies and eventually affect democracy in the country.
“It could have consequences, the freedom of the press issue, I mean, of course, it does not ban freedom of speech, technically. But if you were an owner of a network or you are an employee of a network [you would say], ‘Tingnan mo ang nangyari sa ABS. Huwag natin gawin ‘yan kasi baka mamaya tayo rin masesante (Look at what happened to ABS-CBN, let’s not to do that because we might end up getting laid off, too)’,” Poe said in an interview with ANC.
“May mga chilling effect, ang nangyari parang ganito, ‘Huwag na tayong magsalita, nakakatakot’ (There’s some chilling effect, like, ‘Let’s not speak up, it’s frightening’)…I guess that that would be the start of chipping away at our democracy,” she said.
Poe advised ABS-CBN not to be threatened.
Even as Sen. Christopher Go directly addressed President Duterte’s personal issues with the network during Monday’s hearing, she said she doubts that the Chief Executive would order anything about it.
She echoed Go’s appeal for “fair reporting”.
“Huwag kayong matakot. Sinabi na mismo ng Presidente, you report what you need to report (Do not be afraid. The President said it himself, you report what you need to report),” Poe said.
“Be fair in your reporting, ilabas ang mali, kung may mali, huwag matakot (expose the wrongdoings, if there are, and don’t be afraid). At kung may tama, huwag rin naman tipirin ang pagbibigay-pugay (And if there are accomplishments, then you should not hesitate in giving praises),” she added.