The Communications Workers of America (CWA) is strongly condemning the Philippine government’s shutdown this week of ABS-CBN, the country’s largest broadcast network. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has regularly singled out and threatened the network for its critical coverage of his administration, and the network has played a large role in exposing the plight of Filipino workers in the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry to the general public.
“The obviously political move of shutting down a major broadcast network for highlighting the abuses of power from Duterte’s administration -- leaving 11,000 workers without jobs during a pandemic -- is an attack on press freedom and as a union representing journalists and broadcast technicians, CWA strongly condemns this action,” said CWA’s Senior Director for Government Affairs and Policy Shane Larson. “The rise of attacks on the free press across the world, including Duterte’s actions and President Trump’s regular attacks on the media against CWA members, should be a warning sign to everyone at how global fascism is spreading and gaining power. This is also a continuation of the efforts by the Duterte regime to silence BPO industry workers who are struggling to improve their working conditions through union organizing which has included arrests and targeted killings. At a time when workers’ lives are being endangered by these governments, we must all fight back and make sure workers’ stories are being told.”