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These are the slides I used in my online lecture on June 5, 2020 which was organized by the College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) Metro Manila and Tudla Productions. To watch this online lecture, please go to my YouTube channel (
Danilo A. Arao
Associate Professor, UP Diliman
Associate Editor, Bulatlat
Media Asia
Allows journalists to report and interpret issues
and events based on professional and ethical
Allows news media organizations to operate free
from government intervention
Cornerstone of democracy
D. A. Arao CEGP (5 June 2020) 2
Some elements
Editorial independence
Some functions
Promotes professional and ethical standards of
Upholds media independence and self-regulatory
Ensures informed, critical and empowered
D. A. Arao CEGP (5 June 2020) 3
RA 7966 (25-year franchise effective 4 May
Bills related to ABS-CBN franchise (starting
SONA 2017 – Duterte’s tirade vs ABS-CBN,
Rappler and PDI
Quo warranto petition on 10 Feb 2020
Expiration of franchise on 4 May 2020
NTC cease and desist order on 5 May 2020
No “provisional franchise”; still off the air
D. A. Arao CEGP (5 June 2020) 4
Multi-pronged “attack”
Troll operations to spread “fake news”
Pending bills not prioritized at HOR
OSG filing of quo warranto
OSG warning to NTC
NTC reneging on promise of provisional franchise
Duterte’s public pronouncements
D. A. Arao CEGP (5 June 2020) 5
Cases vs Rappler
Threats vs Philippine Daily Inquirer
Alternative media (Bulatlat, Eastern Vista,
Northern Dispatch, Radyo ni Juan, etc.)
Death threats
Arrest and detention
D. A. Arao CEGP (5 June 2020) 6
Media attacks part of systematic attacks
against perceived “enemies of the state”
Laws are weaponized
Sec. 6 of RA 11469 – penalty for spreading “false
Pandemic as an excuse to pass repressive
measures (e.g., Anti-Terrorism Act)
Culture of impunity
Government of tyranny
D. A. Arao CEGP (5 June 2020) 7
Chilling effect (i.e., who would be next?)
dimension of culture of impunity
An attack on one is an attack on all
Weaponization of laws
Attacks become “systematic” and “legal”
Exacerbation of impunity
Perpetuation of tyranny
D. A. Arao CEGP (5 June 2020) 8
ABS-CBN’s problem is not related to press
freedom because it concerns violations of the
“Legislative franchise is a privilege, not a right.”
ABS-CBN is not the only broadcast station.
There are still others.”
ABS-CBN is still broadcasting online so
everything is fine.”
“Press freedom is alive because people are still
free to criticize.”
D. A. Arao CEGP (5 June 2020) 9
United actions (“creative” as well due to
pandemic restrictions)
Parliamentary (e.g., Congress, Malacañan Palace)
Sustained public pressure
25-year franchise for ABS-CBN
Oppose the proposed Anti-Terrorism Act
Denounce Red-baiting
End impunity
Fight tyranny
D. A. Arao CEGP (5 June 2020) 10
D. A. Arao CEGP (5 June 2020) 11
D. A. Arao CEGP (5 June 2020) 12
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