ABS-CBN CEO makes public commitment for officials to air side

ABS-CBN president and chief executive officer (CEO) Carlo Katigbak assured lawmakers that public officials will be able to to air their side on issues raised against them in ABS-CBN’s various news platforms.

“I would like to make a public commitment that any public official will be given airtime on ABS-CBN to express their side.  That is a commitment by the owners, the management, and we are instructing our organization today to take note of this instruction,” he said as the company faced questions on its alleged media bias at the House of Representatives’ panel hearing yesterday (July 6).

Katigbak added they are aware that there are things that needs to be fixed and reformed in the company.

Alam po namin na maraming kailangan ayusin, i-reform sa ABS-CBN, at handa po kaming gawin lahat ‘yan mabigyan lang po ng pagkakataong ituloy ang operation po ng ABS-CBN,” Katigbak said

The issues were raised at the 12th and final joint hearing of the House Committee on Legislative Franchises and Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability. 

ABS-CBN News head Ging Reyes told the committees that they have internal mechanisms such as an independent network ombudsman, a standards and practices unit, and a third-party monitoring to ensure the highest professional and ethical standards are observed by journalists.

She explained that the office of the network ombudsman, led by former Supreme Court associate justice Jose Vitug, is an independent body reporting directly to the ABS-CBN Board that receives, investigates, and makes recommendations on complaints against news personnel.   

Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) president Ruperto Nicdao Jr., meanwhile, said that mistakes are not unusual in the broadcast industry. What is good with ABS-CBN, he said, is that it acts on complaints filed against the network through the KBP.

Ang maganda naman po sa ABS-CBN basta nagkaroon ng ganung kaso either ni-reresolve po nila, and if they make the mistake they promise to reform. At nangyari po as I have said, 2013 po ‘yung latest case namin. Hanggang ngayon po, wala na pong naging kaso na umabot po doon sa hearing pa. So they’ve always tried to correct whatever mistake they have done,” he said. 

Meanwhile, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) called on the Congress to renew the franchise of ABS-CBN, stating that despite its admitted shortcomings, the continued operation of a media organization is more beneficial than its closure.

“We believe that the ABS-CBN should be given an opportunity to correct its mistakes it openly admits and promises to rectify. We appeal to the House of Representatives and to the honorable members of the two committees to exercise their magnanimity and sense of common good in coming out with a decision favorable not just to the owners of the company, but its thousands of workers including journalists and media workers,” NUJP deputy secretary general Raymund Villanueva read from a statement.