Poe: Stronger media and institutions are needed amid junking of ABS-CBN franchise renewal

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MANILA, Philippines (July 13) – Senator Grace Poe stated that stronger media and institutions are needed after the congress junked the franchise renewal of ABS-CBN. 

“We really have to strengthen our institutions and with that [the] media should also be strengthened,” Poe told CNN Philippines. 

She added, “if we have a strong media and strong accountability in this country, I think that lawmakers will be very cautious to do the right thing.”

READ: Most Filipinos support ABS-CBN franchise, many see rejection as blow to press freedom — survey

The lady solon is the current chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Services. According to senate rules, the said committee oversees “all matters affecting public services and utilities…and the grant or amendment of legislative franchises.”

She described the rejection of the franchise as an ‘intimidation tactic’.

READ: 13 solons urge NTC to allow ABS-CBN re-operation

Poe stressed that it forces media to second guess if politicians will see their reporting “as something that might be offensive to some people in government.”

The senator also said that the media should not fear “because the reporting they do is important, and it is the people who get to decide if the [reporting] is fair or not.”

The 70 who turned their backs on media and institutions

Last Friday, an overwhelming number of lawmakers voted against the renewal of the said franchise.

The Palace described this as “the decision of the people.” However, recent surveys have shown that this is not the case. 

President Rodrigo Duterte has stated that he is ‘neutral’ on the said issue. He claimed that he already forgave the network for their wrong last 2016 presidential elections. 

Detained Senator Leila de Lima stated that the lower house forewent reason to accommodate wishes from the executive. 

“How dare they call themselves representatives of the people when they refuse to heed pleas of thousands of Filipinos depending on the operations of ABS-CBN for their livelihood and millions more who depend on ABS-CBN for news and entertainment?” de Lima said. 

She added, “How can they see this as anything but a great loss for our country and democracy?” 

The former Justice Chief also slammed the president. 

She said, “[The president] set this in motion. He sent out his message early that he would block the renewal of the franchise…”

“There is no doubt in the country’s mind that this was done for him and in his behalf,” she accused. 

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