On the ABS- CBN closure
There is an article circulating around the internet about the investment of a foreign company in ABS-CBN. As the article goes, a big chunk of the company’s shares (about 50%) is owned by a foreign firm, thus the undue pressure on the broadcasting giant to deliver profits even to the extent of airing “vulgar” programs which supposedly don’t do any good to the way of thinking of the masses.
In fairness, all broadcasting companies in this country are in the same boat as far as their programs or what they dish out to the public are concerned. They continue to build in people’s minds that their future is hitched to an unexpected event that will make them win a lot of money or their being discovered by a long lost relative who made it big somewhere and would leave his wealth to them. Another way is by an ordinary person marrying somebody who appeared also to be ordinary but turns out to be the only scion of a multi-billionaire. In short, the Cinderella mentality.
These broadcasting companies only pay lip service to their duty to make people realize that only by education and the constant sweat on one’s brow or by keeping one’s nose on the grindstone from dusk to dusk can one surely extricate himself from the mire of abject poverty.
Another sin of the broadcasting companies is their monopolistic attitude. They are not just on TV. They also own radio stations all over this country and now they are in the internet. The media are now collectively called the quad media—TV, radio, internet and newspapers. Our broadcasting companies are everywhere. They only have to print newspapers to have complete control over everything. Well, CNN Philippines is already doing that through its owners (the owners of San Miguel Corporation) who recently also bought a controlling stake in Philippine Daily Inquirer.
What do these have to do with the closure of ABS-CBN? The investment of a foreign company in the company, masked in legal chicanery which are quite easy to pierce is a deadly sin—and legally fatal. For that would open a chance for foreigners to control or mold the minds of Filipinos the way they want to. If this can be legally proved by the government, it could only mean that ABS-CBN had dug its own grave. The constitution mandates that all media outfits must be wholly owned by Filipinos.
But why only now? The government has always been remiss on its duties in protecting the people against monopolies. In this respect, there is a lot of proof to be cited.
The way things are though, ABS-CBN has become an important portal from which people get information. To just close it like that because it has become the pet peeve of anybody would certainly be tantamount to abridgment of the freedom of the press or free expression.
If ABS-CBN has legal shortcomings, give it a chance to become legally compliant. If what it is dishing out to the public is worsening our broken culture and way of thinking, then give it also a chance to right itself.
For the company has become an institution in this country’s media landscape, and this was allowed to happen by government. If this was wrong, it was also the fault of government.**