Anong freedom of expression? Calida tells SC gov’t should impose its ‘values, goals’ on ABS-CBN
Solicitor General Jose Calida is claiming that the government should be allowed to “impose its values and goals” in awarding broadcasting franchises to private operators.
This is one of the arguments raised by Calida in the quo warranto case he filed with the Supreme Court seeking to revoke ABS-CBN’s television and telecommunication franchises.
“The scarcity of radio frequencies has made it necessary for the government to step in and allocate frequencies to competing broadcasters.
In undertaking that function, the government is compelled to decide which of the competing applicants are worthy of frequency application,” said Calida in his 63-page petition filed February 10.
“It is through that role that it becomes legally viable for the government to impose its own values and goals through a regulatory regime that extends beyond the assignation of frequencies notwithstanding the free expression guarantees enjoyed by broadcasters,” Calida added.
Calida has claimed that ABS-CBN’s stature as the “largest media conglomerate in the country reaching millions of viewers” gave the case “transcendental importance” to justify why it was filed straight to the SC.
“As the biggest broadcasting entity, it is able to shape the public’s opinion on a variety of issues apart from providing entertainment,” Calida said.
“This case is of first impression There is no jurisprudence yet on the revocation of a franchise of a television or radio company This case presents issues that the court a resolve to serve as a precedent. It is an opportunity that the court must seize to draw the line in future cases,” Calida added.
Calida’s boss, President Rodrigo Duterte, himself has publicly vowed to make sure that ABS-CBN would not be able to renew its franchise which was set to expire on March 2020.
Duterte is still sore that ABS-CBN refused to air his campaign ad in 2016 despite taking his payment for airtime.