By Czarina Nicole Ong Ki
Many Filipinos were in an uproar after the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) issued a cease and desist order against TV and broadcasting network ABS-CBN on May 5.
To express their disappointment and rage, netizens turned to social media and urged the government to #UpholdPressFreedom by saying #NoToABSCBNShotdown (sic).
“If they can silence and shut down a Media Giant, how much more the poor and powerless? ABS-CBN has been a part of my childhood and I will continue and forever be a KAPAMILYA (family). Let us all be heard. We are Filipino. We are the Philippines,” a netizen tweeted.
One Twitter user raised concern for the employees who are at risk of losing their jobs because of the NTC order. “#NoToABSCBNShotDown (sic) is not just for the artists, it’s also for the employees. Just imagine how many families will be affected by this,” she said.
Another Twitter user, who prefers watching rival network GMA, shared the same sentiment. “GMA journalists will always remain superior. No doubt. But, NTC’s heartlessness gets on my nerve. Shocks! Think about those employees who just have lost their jobs while struggling to live by during this pandemic crisis. THINK!”
A lot of netizens blamed the government for NTC’s decision. “Shame on this government,” a netizen fumed.
“We get the leaders we deserve. Let’s not forget this tragedy. This is not just about ABS but the type of ‘leaders’ we elect to implement the laws for us. Let’s make things right come 2022. But for now, lets rally and let our voices be heard,” added another.
However, there were some who believe that ABS-CBN simply failed to renew its franchise and accused the network of being biased against the current administration and used the hashtag #YesToABSCBNShutdown.
“For the MANY, MANY, MANY times you have promoted BIASED and FAKE news!!!!!” a user said. “From not advertising ads of candidates you don’t like in elections to having daily news headlines twisted against this administration.”
One user even said that the network’s shutdown is not a dig against freedom, though it is what many people believe. “Do not confuse the issue of ‘closure due to expiration of franchise’ with ‘freedom of the press’. They are not the same things although the opposition will tug at your heartstrings and mislead you to believe so,” said a netizen.