ABS-CBN News head Regina “Ging” Reyes shared the impact of ABS-CBN’s shutdown has had on their reporters and journalists.
In an article by the CPJ (Committee to Protect Journalist), Reyes narrated the chilling effect on their journalist after their broadcast shut down on May 5.
According to her, the network’s shutdown and the obvious singling out of the media company has intimidated the journalists and their news organization.
“So to us, by singling out ABS-CBN, by shutting it down, it’s been a chilling attack on our press freedom rights. Maybe that was not the intent of some people because they really believed it was a matter of enforcing the law but the cease and desist order has intimidated our journalists and their news organization,” she said.
Prior to their closure, ABS-CBN had been on the receiving end of harsh criticisms and bashing from online trolls discrediting their jobs as the fourth estate. No less than government officials like Mocha Uson have proliferated fake news about the network being biased which were amplified by die-hard Duterte supporters on social media.
No less than the President, Rodrigo Duterte, has slammed the network on several occasions for allegedly unfair reportage threatening he will do everything to block its franchise renewal.
Meanwhile, Reyes also shared instances when some of their reporters expressed their fear and apprehension in covering stories that might touch the nerves of some people which eventually might cost their company’s franchise.
“There have been instances where a few of my reporters expressed their worry, fear, apprehension, anxiety about the stories they cover. They are worried that a story they were doing might land the company in more trouble or might cost us the franchise,” Reyes narrated.
“Their apprehension can come in the form of a real serious question, or sometimes in the form of a joke, but it has had a subconscious effect every time they go out, every time they do an interview,” she added.
Aside from personal fears and anxiety, the news head also told how their news teams were questioned and restricted from doing their jobs during the first weeks of their closure.
“At the same time, especially in the first couple of weeks, [after the closure] we saw our journalists being restricted, being questioned or denied information on the basis that we were closed or shut down.
“Maybe it’s ignorance, maybe it’s not having [the] awareness that we have other platforms, but still, these incidents do not inspire confidence in the [franchise renewal] process,” she continued.
O n May 5, ABS-CBN complied with the cease and desist order of the National Telecommunications Commission due to their franchise’s expiry on May 4.