Philippine Democracy Under Extreme Threat


ABS-CBN has breathed its last, an institution that symbolized the re-birth of democracy in this country. What we in the Philippines, have right now is an elite-dominated media landscape, now more conscious than ever of its major and substantive role in shaping society. Frankly, the loss of ABS-CBN is sad because it was the only entity reaching the once unreachable stretches of Philippine territory. Many attribute it to technical superiority, with ABS-CBN investing in various relay stations that get its signal from the acquired towers of PTV-4, the government station. Others, well, is ABS-CBN’s mastery of the narrative. Yes, the Filipino narrative.

With media outlets under the control of our economic elites, we may not have or be prevented from further knowing and nurturing the Filipino narrative. This narrative is what makes us a nation. It is a story that most Filipinos agree upon. And we need a storyteller with the capabilities, skills, experience, and knowledge to touch the raw nerves of Filipinos.

I suspect that some quarters of our elite society want this to happen so that we, Filipinos, remain in a fragmented state. These oligarchs now have complete control over us ordinary Filipinos. Elites now shape the narratives the way they want.

On the other hand, we may still be able to resist such a situation by competing in the space where ABS-CBN and other big networks compete. Current technologies allow us to do so since streaming broadcast signals is cheaper than a decade ago. Thus, the broadcast business is now scalable. Entry into the broadcast business can now be compared with establishing a coffee shop. People can now have their own channels with only a few cameras, a good and reliable internet connection, and honest citizens willing to sacrifice their time and lives for the “cause.”

That’s the challenge–creating such requires the commitment of willing and able Filipino citizens who share the desire to see a more equitable Filipino society. The further challenge, however, is how to get the support of the Filipino masses.


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