3 of 4 Filipinos want ABS-CBN to reopen—poll

A Social Weather Stations survey found that three out of four Filipinos, or 75 percent of those polled, favored renewing ABS-CBN's franchise, and over half of those polled considered a non-renewal a major blow to press freedom.

READ: ABS-CBN loses franchise bid

SWS announced the results of its survey even as Rep. Rufus Rodriquez said ABS-CBN could file an appeal after its franchise bid was denied.

Voting 70-11 last Friday, the House committee on legislative franchises denied the country's largest broadcasting firm a fresh license to operate, a move seen by some sectors as a curtailment of press freedom and a decision that put in jeopardy the livelihood of some 11,000 workers.

READ: CHR: Franchise denial has ’chilling effect’ on media

Rodriguez, who authored one of ABS-CBN’s franchise bills, says the network can refute the drafting group's findings on the issues surrounding its previous franchise.

"As a private bill, as an applicant to Congress, as a private corporation, then, it [the network] has all the right to be able to ask for a motion for reconsideration," Rodriguez told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.

READ: ABS franchise backers appeal for calm

Senator Richard Gordon described as a "curtailment of press freedom" the denial of ABS-CBN’s 25-year franchise.

Senator Nancy Binay said she shared the hurt and heartbreak in every Filipino home and the tears of more than 11,000 workers who were denied hope.

Rep. Edcel Lagman said Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano’s call for “moving forward” after the denial of ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal was a “pretense.”

“After leading the assault on press freedom by ensuring the partisan rejection of ABS-CBN’s bid for a franchise renewal, Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano cannot escape culpability by merely intoning that the protagonists and the nation must ‘move forward’,” Lagman said.

The University of Santo Tomas and the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication on Saturday threw their support behind ABS-CBN, and a day after the House of Representatives denied the network's franchise renewal application.

SWS' National Mobile Phone Survey, taken from July 3 to 6 as the House of Representatives debated the renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise but before the July 10 vote by the committee on legislative franchises, also found that 13 percent disagreed with a franchise renewal while 10 percent were undecided.

Geographically, the proportion of those who called on Congress to renew ABS-CBN’s franchise was highest in Mindanao at 80 percent, followed by the Visayas at 77 percent, Balance Luzon at 74 percent and Metro Manila at 69 percent.

The proportion of those who favored ABS-CBN was higher in the rural areas at 81 percent against 70 percent than in the urban areas.

Meanwhile, 56 percent of those polled said a non-renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise would be a major blow to press freedom, while 27 percent said it would have no effect on press freedom. Fifteen percent were undecided.

The proportion of those who considered Congress’ non-renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise as a major blow to press freedom was highest in the Visayas at 59 percent, followed by Mindanao at 57 percent, Balance Luzon at 55 percent and Metro Manila at 52 percent.

The majorities in both rural and urban areas, 57 percent and 55 percent, respectively, considered a non-renewal as a blow to press freedom.

SWS’ National Mobile Phone Survey was a probability-based survey that used mobile phone and computer-assisted telephone interviews of 1,555 adult Filipinos nationwide.

The survey had sampling error margins of ±2 percent for national percentages, ±6 percent for Metro Manila and ±5 percent for Balance Luzon, the Visayas, and Mindanao.

READ: The rise and fall of a giant network: A roller coaster ride

Topics: Social Weather Stations , Filipinos , renew , franchise , ABS-CBN , press freedom
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