A year ago today, 53 ABS-CBN television and radio stations in regions outside Metro Manila went silent, a consequence of a House committee’s decision to reject a new franchise for the broadcast giant.
While it is true that the network and some of its programming are still available online, the loss of regional stations hampers the flow of information to and from areas outside the capital.
In some cases, this may mean fewer eyes and voices to act as a check on government. In others, this could mean the loss of access to information on typhoons and disaster preparations.
It is true that ABS-CBN is not the only media network in the Philippines but we are all weaker when one of us is silenced. Beyond ratings and revenues, the hampered operations of one network means less coverage of local issues and diminished service to the public.
It also means thousands of our colleagues who have lost their jobs or have had to make do with lower pay.
Today, we mark a year since our fellow media workers were silenced and the communities they served deprived of a source of verified information.
Although a year has passed, our call has remained the same and it is one we will continue making: Laban, Kapamilya. Ibalik ang ABS-CBN.