ABS-CBN

Media groups mourn loss of major news source in provinces as ABS-CBN regionals go off air

Media groups mourn loss of major news source in provinces as ABS-CBN regionals go off air
The Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines expresses its dismay and dreaded the major loss of information source for Filipinos in provinces during the coronavirus pandemic

Media groups marked what they dubbed as a ‘black day for independent journalism’ across the country Friday, August 25, when ABS-CBN regional networks went off the air.

In a statement, the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines expressed its dismay and dreaded the major loss of information source for Filipinos in provinces during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Millions of Filipinos outside Metro-Manila will lose a fast and credible source of news today as they struggle through a life-threatening crisis,” FOCAP said.

It added that many areas in the provinces that are unreachable by other networks would also suffer “this great loss” – especially in times of emergencies.

“Many isolated and disaster-prone villages unreached by other networks can dangerously lose their access to national news, including government pronouncements,” it continued.

Must Read

For ABS-CBN Tacloban’s anchor, franchise loss is a storm worse than Yolanda

For ABS-CBN Tacloban’s anchor, franchise loss is a storm worse than Yolanda

All 12 local TV Patrol programs bid their final newscasts via Facebook and YouTube. (READ: After over 30 years, ABS-CBN to stop airing ‘TV Patrol’ local versions)

The closure of ABS-CBN Regional’s operations came after the House of Representatives rejected the media giant’s bid for a fresh franchise in July over alleged “numerous violations” of the terms of its old franchise, which lapsed on May 4.

In a separate message to Rappler, ABS-CBN said all its regional stations would close except Baguio, Cebu, and Cagayan de Oro.

The network has 21 regional stations nationwide under ABS-CBN Regional which has produced various editions of local TV Patrol programs and provided local and national news using the viewers’ own dialects for over 30 years. 

Must Read

After over 30 years, ABS-CBN to stop airing ‘TV Patrol’ local versions

After over 30 years, ABS-CBN to stop airing ‘TV Patrol’ local versions
Increasing unemployment

Aside from losing a main source of information, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) pointed out that the closure of ABS-CBN regional networks took away the jobs of hundreds of its workers – adding them to the swelling number of unemployment during the pandemic. 

“Today, hundreds of our colleagues, among them our members, lose their jobs, joining the thousands more stripped of employment after the legislative lapdogs of a vindictive president shut down the country’s largest network by denying it a new franchise,” NUJP stressed. 

FOCAP also added that this could have been an avoidable tragedy and pointed out that the  loss of the regional networks was inflicted by the people who should protect Filipinos to begin with. 

NUJP echoed this citing that the government has continually attacked critical and independent media. “It is clear that democracy is under siege, by the government no less, as seen in the relentless assaults on the critical and independent media, and the continuing attacks on the people’s basic rights and freedoms,” the group added.

While local reporters were the mainstays of the broadcast network’s programs, including the flagship newscast TV Patrol, ABS-CBN’s Regional Network Group (RNG) correspondents gather and chronicles news primarily for the community they serve. 

They are often the first to report from the field – whether it be for a storm, an earthquake, war, or other crises. 

Both media groups stood in solidarity with the community of independent Filipino journalists and the Filipino people, and urged them to resist government’s attacks and threats to democracy. 

“But let this not be the end. Let us turn our grief into anger and resolve. To our colleagues in the community of independent Filipino journalists and to the Filipino people, let us stand together and resist the continued undermining of our laws, of our rights, of our liberties, by the very institutions supposed to protect these,” NUJP said. 

“We can, we must, ward off the darkness before it totally descends on us,” it added.

FOCAP also thanked the community journalists for their dedicated service: “We’re proud of the legacy of independent and courageous journalism they have forged against many odds since rising from the quagmire of Ferdinand Marcos’ martial law,” it added. – Rappler.com