By Hanah Tabios
As the National Telecommunications Communication (NTC) issued on Tuesday a cease and desist order against ABS-CBN upon the expiry of its legislative franchise, a journalism professor warned of the chilling effect of this event on Philippine mass media critical of the Duterte administration.
Danilo Arao, a media practitioner and a journalism professor at the University of the Philippines, said that self-censorship and pro-government gatekeeping may happen, affecting mainly the quality of reportage by some legitimate news organizations.
“The chilling effect resulting from the shutdown means the death of press freedom. An attack on one is an attack on all,” Arao told the Manila Bulletin in an interview.
He said the closure of one the country’s media giants, which had already suffered the same fate during the martial law era, is an act of harassment and intimidation.
“Journalists should keep the torch of press freedom burning. Aside from reporting the issues of the day, it is necessary for journalists to fight for press freedom as their ethical obligation at this time of darkness,” he said.
Ging Reyes, ABS-CBN’s chief for Integrated News and Current Affairs, also lamented that the shutdown was an assault against the company’s values as an independent news organization.
She said the closure order from the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) could jeopardize the safety and lives of millions of Filipinos relying on the network’s news contents at the height of the global health crisis.
READ MORE: NTC orders ABS-CBN to stop operations