Karen Davila And Korina Sanchez React To ABS-CBN's Controversial Shutdown
On press freedom, timing, and fake news: two of ABS-CBN's leading journalists shed light on the events, decisions, and people surrounding the unfolding story
On May 5, 2020, media giant ABS-CBN Corporation was issued a cease and desist order by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), a major consequence of which included the immediate shutting down of several of its channels airing both news and entertainment programs.
The news was confirmed on live television on the same day via news program TV Patrol, where news anchors Ted Failon, Noli de Castro, and Bernadette Sembrano conducted a number interviews with some of those involved with the decision. At the end of the segment, the trio bid an emotional goodbye to the channel's millions of viewers, going off the air to give way to a series of announcements promising ABS-CBN's audience that sooner or later, ABS-CBN will be back on air.
It is understatement to call the announcement a surprise; though it is known that ABS-CBN had been involved with a legal battle relating to the legality of its franchise and its renewal, a Senate hearing conducted last February ended in favor of the network. The hearing's results indicated that ABS-CBN has been compliant with labor, tax, and and franchise laws.
However, not two months after ABS-CBN executives appeared at Senate and seemingly settled the matter, the NTC sprung forth with a fresh attack, leading to the network's forced closure.
The NTC gave ABS-CBN 10 days (or until May 15) to respond to its cease and desist order.
ABS-CBN representatives are yet to reveal their plans for addressing the issue, but that is not to say that the network has been entirely silent about the shocking event.
Many of its personalities have been vocal about their thoughts and feelings online, even responding to those supporting the shutdown with candor, and at the helm of the social media protests are none other than journalists Karen Davila and Korina Sanchez, both of whom anchored TV Patrol in the past.
Both Karen and Korina had much to say about the controversial shutdown.
To start, both women made parallel comparisons to the NTC's decision with that made in 1972 when the Philippines was in the grip of Martial Law. It was in that year when ABS-CBN was forced to shut down for the very first time, and almost 48 years after, the network faces the same challenge.
The first time ABSCBN was forced to go off air was on Sept 21, 1972 after the declaration of Martial Law.— Karen Davila (@iamkarendavila) May 5, 2020
And then today... May 5, 2020. #DefendPressFreedom #IStandWithABSCBN pic.twitter.com/Ap4Q5n0Snn
Korina took it further by recalling how in 1986, after the EDSA Revolution, young journalists like herself were given a newfound responsibility of ensuring that the free press was protected and that the government would never cross this line again.
"This is the power of media to speak up, put government to task and give the people their voice back. A show called HOY! Gising! was born. Unheard of. We would lambast the very same administration who gave us back this power to monitor them and require acceptable service. And we had no fear of repercussion. Walang gantihan noon. Walang journalist na takot noon. Walang preno. The system, this way, corrects itself," she wrote on Instagram to caption a photo of herself as one of the show's anchors.
But rather limit the post as a nostalgic reminiscing, Korina went on to mourn the progress that, in a matter of hours, was lost.
View this post on Instagram
Upon the restoration of press freedom after the 1986 Revolution, young journalists then regained what had been lost for more than 20 years and just pushed it to the limits of this newfound power. This is the power of media to speak up, put government to task and give the people their voice back. A show called HOY! Gising! was born. Unheard of. We would lambast the very same administration who gave us back this power to monitor them and require acceptable service. And we had no fear of repercussion. Walang gantihan noon. Walang journalist na takot noon. Walang preno. The system, this way, corrects itself. But, wow. How far back have we pedalled from a shining bright moment in our story as a people. While I miss this moment, 30 or so years later, I realize we still have another chance at another bright, shining moment. It won't happen, if we don't speak up. Sa mga sarili naten ang sigaw ko: “HOY! GISEEEEEEENG!”.
"How far back have we pedalled from a shining bright moment in our story as a people," she adds.
She is hopeful, however, that the Philippines and the Filipino people can rise up once again and stand taller than they did before.
Karen continues to post words of encouragement for supporters of the #NoToABSCBNShutdown movement while providing information on the alleged violations of her home network and responding to those celebrating its closure.
She also took to Twitter to disseminate a series of fact versus fake news explanations written in plain terms to help provide information to those seeking to better understand NTC's claims.
Ano po ba katotohanan sa mga akusasyon ng FICTAP laban sa ABSCBN? Basahin po: pic.twitter.com/AO2u5oUvKL— Karen Davila (@iamkarendavila) May 6, 2020
Part 2 of FICTAP’s accusations at ang katotohanan. pic.twitter.com/tlQMxvNuA0— Karen Davila (@iamkarendavila) May 6, 2020
More so, she has retweeted the advice of lawmakers who have shared their thoughts on the matter, as well as announcements made by The Palace.
re ABS-CBN... PRRD can reverse the order of the NTC, being under the OP. This is not the time to deprive the people w information re the pandemic &, following his humbling realization re Ayala & Pangilinan, Government needs all the help it can get to fight COVID-19... contd...— Chiz Escudero (@SayChiz) May 5, 2020
contd...The House of Representatives &, later on, the Senate can & should act, one way or the other, on the franchise application of ABS-CBN. They (especially the House) cannot & should not simply pay lip service & then sit on it while supposedly awaiting signals from Malacanang.— Chiz Escudero (@SayChiz) May 5, 2020
“The President is completely neutral. This is not double speak He asks his allies in congress to vote according to their conscience. Hindi nya mamasamain whichever way they vote”. Says a certification of urgency isnt forthcoming as ABSCBN is a private enterprise. https://t.co/tZ4K46EI4B— Karen Davila (@iamkarendavila) May 6, 2020
Salceda calls NTC order “not a step in the right way w national strategy in fighting COVID”.— Karen Davila (@iamkarendavila) May 6, 2020
Salceda says House is predisposed to approving franchise. It’s possible to renew in 1 week #ANCHeadstart https://t.co/Hjxk2EScxu
"This is one of the worst days for the Philippine Congress."— ABS-CBN News Channel (@ANCALERTS) May 6, 2020
Rep. Lito Atienza expresses confidence that #ABSCBNfranchise can be renewed in just one day if only the Congress acts on it. pic.twitter.com/2jx5qqfYQL
However, there was one post of Karen's that earned the most attention, as it spoke of the shared sentiments of many Filipinos. She pointedly asked that why and how, at the height of a global health crisis that the country is struggling to manage alongside the Philippines' many issues, the closure of ABS-CBN received more attention and energy than anything else.
"ABSCBN is not the enemy. COVID is," she said.
Sa dami ng problema ng Pilipinas... sa dami ng nagkakasakit at namamatay sa Covid... sa laki ng problema ngayon sa ekonomiya..sa dami ng nawalan ng trabaho dahil sa covid..— Karen Davila (@iamkarendavila) May 5, 2020
Talagang pagpapatigil ng ABSCBN ang inatupag nila. Hindi ko maintindihan kung nasaan ang mga puso nito.
Karen's tweet about this has earned thousands of comments, and are a mixture of those who support the NTC's decision, and those who vehemently condemn it.
Several of Korina and Karen's co-Kapamilya personalities have also taken to social media to air their frustrations.
Coco Martin, Angel Locsin, Bea Alonzo, and Kim Chiu are some of the celebrities so far who have gotten the most attention for their emotional (and in some instances, unabashedly critical) reactions to their home network's shutdown.
However, ABS-CBN is still able to air a select number of programs on other platforms. Read more information on how to view its news and entertainment programs here.
Photos from @korina @iamkarendavila