Duterte Rejects License Renewal for Philippines’ Largest Media Network

Elias Hubbard
July 13, 2020

Citing testimony from government officials given during the hearings that absolved ABS-CBN of wrongdoing, lawmakers in favor of granting the franchise said in a joint statement ahead of the vote that ABS-CBN had "fully complied with the provisions and requirements of its previous franchise".

The Philippine Stock Exchange, in a notice, said it has required the company to submit a full disclosure on the impact of the non-renewal of its legislative franchise on the business, financial conditions and operations as well as future business plans. "We believe that we have been rendering service that is meaningful and valuable to the Filipino public".

Supporters of the country's largest TV network, ABS-CBN, holds slogans during a rally outside the House of Representatives in Manila, Philippines, Thursday, July 9, 2020.

By a 70-11 vote, with one abstention, the panel, chaired by Palawan Rep. Franz Alvarez, approved the resolution denying the franchise application of ABS-CBN Corp.to construct, install, establish, operate, and maintain radio and broadcasting stations in the Philippines. ABS-CBN has been off-air since May 5.

"The political persecution of ABS-CBN sends a chilling message to Filipino media practitioners and journalists: toe the line or get shut down", said opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros.

Zarate stressed the need to consider public interest, especially as closing down ABS-CBN puts the company's 11,000 employees' livelihoods at risk.

Phil Robertson, the deputy director of Human Rights Watch's Asia division, called Friday "a black day for media freedom".

Lawyers and rights groups accuse the president's allies of persecuting ABS-CBN, at a time when legal cases mount against Rappler, a news website whose reporting has also riled Duterte.

"I will see to it that you're out", Duterte threatened in December.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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