November 30, 2023

An aspiring journalist’s view on ABS-CBN shutdown

July 10, 2020, will be remembered in our country’s history as the date when the House Committee on Legislative Franchises voted to deny the franchise renewal bid of ABS-CBN.
Those who voted to deny the franchise renewal did not take cognizance of the crucial role of media in a democratic country.
In his 2009 study entitled “Role of Media in Nation Building,” Siddharta Dash stated that in any democratic country, media plays a vital role in creating, molding, and reflecting public opinion.
As an aspiring journalist, I agree that the shutdown of ABS-CBN is an attack on press freedom. The action of the members of the committee contradicts a provision of the Bill of Rights which states, “No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression or of the press.”
The shutdown has also denied thousands of journalists of their commitment to uphold their duties and responsibilities as media practitioners.
Studying Development Communication has taught me that one of the greatest contributions of a journalist is to be the voice for the voiceless. Journalism has taught me that writing is crucial in empowering the marginalized sectors in society.
As blogger and columnist Tonyo Cruz once said, “Only in an atmosphere of freedom can an artist and journalist depict and report the truth.”
Recent events show that a government can silence the media through an act of Congress. This brings a chilling effect among journalists and to the public they serve.
In spite of the recent developments and previous attacks on media practitioners, I will stand for truth and I will defend press freedom. The public has the right to know. Elected officials must be accountable for their actions. — NOVELYN BALANGUI, La Trinidad, Benguet