‘Ngayon talaga?’: Netizens hit NTC’s shutdown order vs ABS-CBN

Samantha Bagayas
‘Ngayon talaga?’: Netizens hit NTC’s shutdown order vs ABS-CBN
Netizens say the move is a clear attack on press freedom

MANILA, Philippines – Most everybody was taken by surprise when the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) ordered ABS-CBN to stop operations on Tuesday, May 5.

The order was released a day after the expiration of the media giant’s congressional franchise, and nearly two months after NTC Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba told a House panel that his agency would likely grant ABS-CBN provisional authority to operate.

A shutdown would not only cause 11,000 workers to lose jobs in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, it will also deal a serious blow to press freedom and public access to information at this time. The NTC’s order comes two days after the celebration of World Press Freedom Day.

Netizens took to Twitter to show their disapproval of the NTC order.

By Tuesday afternoon, #NoToABSCBNShutdown and ABS-CBN rose to the Philippines’ top trends on Twitter, getting more than 12,000 tweets and around 16,000, respectively.

Several people have slammed the move, pointing out how the shutdown order was made when people are most in need of verified information and reliable news outlets.

“At a time where delivery of information is crucial, it is despicable that the admin has gone through with trying to keep ABS-CBN down,” said netizen Gerard Bernardo.

Many hit the NTC for rushing to take down the embattled media network, while the government allowed Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGO) to continue operations even with the lockdown still in place.

Some pointed out how ironic it was that the order came just a few days after World Press Freedom Day.

Netizens warned that the shutdown of a media giant such as ABS-CBN means that smaller news outlets and critics of the administration are in danger of being silenced as well.

“If they could do that to ABS-CBN–the biggest media network in the country, paano na kaya ‘yung mga small media companies (what will happen to small media companies)?  This is a clear attack on press freedom,” Twitter user @iisgiie said.

They also urged people to stand with ABS-CBN, defend press freedom, and remember the network’s indelible contribution to public service and the delivery of information.

Here’s what other netizens said about the matter:

– Rappler.com

Samantha Bagayas

Samantha Bagayas is a community and civic engagement specialist under MovePH, Rappler's civic engagement arm. Aside from writing stories about movements and civic initiatives, she works with movers and campus journalists across the Philippines to amplify issues affecting their communities.