The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has expressed “concern” over the decision made by the House of Representatives on Friday to deny the franchise application of ABS-CBN.
In a statement, the Commission said that the decision made against the biggest broadcasting media outlet in the country left millions of Filipinos in the dark. Given the reach of its broadcast, it said the absence of ABS-CBN negatively impacts the delivery of timely and credible information, especially during this coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) health pandemic.
At the same time, the loss of a major network resulted in the sudden loss of jobs. The workers of ABS-CBN now join the growing number of individuals who are suffering from the loss of livelihood because of the quarantine measures.
“Unless Congress can disabuse the minds of the public that its decision was based on a fair review and was devoid of any political consideration, the denial of the franchise gives a chilling effect on the freedom of the press,” the statement read.
Congress explained that there were alleged violations made by ABS-CBN, which is why its franchise was denied. However, the Commission said these issues should have been dealt with “in accordance with existing laws.”
“And the same standard that was used for ABS-CBN should have been consistent with the rest of the franchise applications,” it said. “Otherwise, this puts in question the rule of law fundamental in protecting rights and instead shows a rule by law – devoid of fairness and justice.”