It’s a black day for independent media across the Philippines as ABS-CBN News airs its final TV Patrol newscasts in provincial stations then pulls the plug for good after more than three decades. The Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines dreads the repercussions of this latest offshoot of the network’s shutdown amid an unprecedented pandemic.
Other ABS-CBN news programs, which have been a daily staple of Filipino households for a generation, have gone off air. Millions of Filipinos outside Metro-Manila will lose a fast and credible source of news today as they struggle through a life-threatening crisis. Many isolated and disaster-prone villages unreached by other networks can dangerously lose their access to national news, including government pronouncements.
Thousands of community journalists, news production staff and downstream workers, on the other hand, will tearfully bid goodbye to ABS-CBN and join the swelling ranks of the unemployed and desperate.
It’s an avoidable national tragedy, inflicted by the very people who should protect Filipinos from all adversity.
We in FOCAP stand solidly with our ABS-CBN news colleagues in this moment of adversity. 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.
Thank you from all of us. We will never forget. And the struggle will continue.