Several local universities and colleges have voiced out their solidarity with ABS-CBN after the National Telecommunications Commission issued a cease and desist order against the network, seeing the closure as a disregard for the needs of the millions of Filipinos at this critical time.
The University of Santo Tomas labeled the shutdown order as a “disservice to the Filipino people.” In a statement, UST emphasized that through various projects and advocacies, “ABS-CBN has significantly contributed to the improvement of the lives of many Filipinos.”
The University of the Philippines’ College of Mass Communication along with other colleges and schools, meanwhile, highlighted the importance of ABS-CBN’s coverages and the need for free press amid this public health crisis.
“We need free press to serve as a faithful chronicler of events, a platform for the diversity of voices to be heard,” UP said in a statement.
St. Scholastica’s Communication Department boldly stated that Filipinos need to demand a “respect for fundamental human and Constitutional rights.”
Other top schools condemn NTC’s cease and desist order against the network and urge the agency to reverse its decision.
The Ateneo De Manila University Department of Communication considers the closure of ABS-CBN as an “attack on democracy,” depriving citizens of a platform for the free exchange of news and opinions.
With ABS-CBN’s forced shutdown, ADMU strongly stated that it sees “shades of martial law almost 50 years ago.” The university also called on our lawmakers to “act post-haste to approve the ABS-CBN franchise and restore its broadcast.”
Apart from urging lawmakers to revoke the order, the University of Asia and the Pacific School of Communication also commended the people behind ABS-CBN who continue to deliver service despite the crises. “We also thank the network for being a source of inspiration to many of its efforts to transmit messages of hope and solidarity to thousands of Filipinos who are suffering due to the virus.”
Like UA&P, other academes expressed their support for the workers of ABS-CBN whose jobs may have been displaced. Some also feel that the shutdown is an angle towards the possibility of manipulating other media outlets.
Miriam College Communication Society believes that prohibiting ABS-CBN to broadcast is not just “a form of curtailment of our right to information” but also an act causing thousands of Filipino workers to lose their jobs. The college also sees this as a control over press and an indication that “it is possible for other media platforms to be controlled as well.”
Same sentiments were shared by the group behind De La Salle University’s school paper “The Animo” as it stands not only with the network but also with the thousands of media workers and journalists. “It is heartless to deprive thousands of Filipinos of their jobs,” they said.
The Animo also mentioned that this “targetization” can be deemed as a “slippery slope towards exterminating smaller news networks including alternative, community, and campus media.”
Standing also in solidarity with ABS-CBN are the students of Holy Angel University Communicators’ League who reiterated that the media company’s shutdown did not only took away jobs but allowed thousands to “lose their goals and dreams in the fields of news, public affairs, and entertainment.”
To date, ABS-CBN continues to gain support from various academic institutions. In a statement, ABS-CBN expressed its gratitude for the overwhelming support it has been getting. The network continues to trust the Congress that it will act on the pending application for franchise renewal the soonest.
NTC issued a cease and desist order against ABS-CBN last May 5, prohibiting the broadcast operations of the network, as its congressional franchise lapsed on May 4, 2020.