Fairness. Socio-cultural relevance. Historical significance. These are the three reasons why the Philippine Congress should pass ABS-CBN’s franchise application.
First, fairness. Several media firms that applied for their franchise renewals were allowed to air during the time Congress was deliberating their applications. They were never given the round around. They continue their businesses while legislators assess whether to allow them to air or not.
The Department of Justice (DoJ) released their legal opinion on continuing ABS-CBN’s airing, and the same goes with other government agencies. Most of these government agencies like the Department of Labor and Employment or DOLE submitted their clean bills of health for ABS-CBN. Like any other company, ABS-CBN is no saint. It has its share of violations, but they are not big enough to merit a cancellation of a franchise.
Second, ABS-CBN, being the biggest media network built by Filipinos, dominate a big chunk of the media industry, which is around 45%. The question is—where will these huge chunk go. Yes, you guessed it–nowhere. Media revenues are down. Media firms are competing heavily with online media entities not just for revenues but for attention. The industry will really get hurt when ABS-CBN leaves the air. GMA7 is the second biggest and the third ones, are really far behind these leaders.
GMA7 is not known to dominate the industry in a highly substantive way ABS-CBN did. I mean, GMA7, where I once belong, never really went out on air for the past 75 years but it never really impacted much on the lives of ordinary Filipinos. Inspire of its faults, ABS-CBN 2 is credited of discovering and probably profitting from the formula of generating mass appeal and tremendous public awareness thru its platforms. Everyone knows that a news item aired over at ABS-CBN is four times effective than putting it out on other stations. Really.
Fragmentation. That’s what will happen. Without a dominant force, there would be fragmentation of the industry that would weaken it to such an extent, it would require the entry of foreign players in the market. These strong foreign players will surely depress the industry and introduce alien cultural norms and values that will either enrich the existing local ones or finally put it under sleep.
Lastly, historical relevance. ABS-CBN has served as an effective documenter of Philippine history. Putting it to sleep a year and a half away from the most momentous political event of this nation is treason and a great disservice to the Filipino nation. These politicos are squeezing life out of every Filipino just by killing the one big media network able to dish out the truth out there to the vast majority of the people.
That 2022 elections is highly significant because it again gives the people the right to choose the next one who will steer this country either to a brighter future or to the abyss. Where will the people get the best information without ABS-CBN 2?