US 'concerned' over shutdown of ABS-CBN
An empty booth of DZMM, the radio arm of ABS-CBN, is seen at the station headquarters in Manila on May 6, 2020. The shutting down of the Philippines' top broadcaster crosses a dangerous line in eroding the nation's democracy and sends a warning to those who risk angering President Rodrigo Duterte, watchdogs said.
AFP/Ted Aljibe
US 'concerned' over shutdown of ABS-CBN
(Agence France-Presse) - May 8, 2020 - 8:35am

WASHINGTON, United States — The United States on Friday voiced concern over the Philippine government-ordered shutdown of the country's top broadcaster ABS-CBN, which has been targeted by President Rodrigo Duterte.

"We are concerned by the situation regarding ABS-CBN," State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said.

"An independent media plays a critical role in facilitating the open exchange of information and ideas which is vital to free, prosperous and secure democratic societies," she said.

Ortagus said that free media was especially vital in promoting public health amid the global COVID-19 pandemic.

"This is true for the United States, the Philippines, as well as countries around the world," she said.

ABS-CBN was forced off the air over the stalled renewal of its operating license, which Duterte had repeatedly pledged to block.

Duterte had regularly assailed the media powerhouse, which he accuses of failing to air his ads during the 2016 presidential election despite accepting payment to do so.

The Philippines is a former colony and treaty ally of the United States but tensions have grown over Duterte's signature policy of cracking down on drugs, a campaign in which police have killed thousands of people.

Duterte bristles at any foreign criticism and barred his cabinet from visiting the United States after the Philippines' former police chief said his US visa was cancelled.

In February, Duterte also set in motion the process to withdraw from the Visiting Forces Agreement, a key part of the defense alliance.

Despite the rift, Duterte has found an affinity with President Donald Trump, who also frequently attacks mainstream media.

Trump said ending the troop agreement would save the United States money and has praised the anti-drug campaign, a sharp change from criticism by his predecessor Barack Obama.

ABS-CBN FRANCHISE US-PHILIPPINES TIES
As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: September 12, 2020 - 11:56am

ABS-CBN Corp. stopped broadcasting on its TV and radio stations on May 5, 2020 after the National Telecommunications Commission issued a cease and desist order. The network's franchise had lapsed on May 4 without action by the House of Representatives.

September 12, 2020 - 11:56am

A group of teachers denounces anew the shutting down of ABS-CBN network, with its education platform—Knowledge Channel—just like what ousted dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. did 48 years ago.

"In the spirit of upholding press freedom and the people's right to information, and the media's burgeoning role in education amid the pandemic, ACT supports the Knowledge Channel Foundation Inc. in its bid to extend its services and resources to the Department of Education as the public education system shifts to remote learning in response to the pandemic," says the Alliance of Concerned Teachers Philippines in a statement.

September 10, 2020 - 4:35pm

The National Telecommunications Commission recalls the frequencies assigned to broadcast giant ABS-CBN following the non-renewal of its legislative franchise.

In its decision released Thursday, the NTC points out that ABS-CBN does not have a valid franchise to continue operating television and radio broadcasting stations nationwide.

"Indubitably, the denial of Respondent's franchise renewal application in Congress, coupled with the denial of Respondent's Petition by the Supreme Court, lead to no other conclusion except that Respondent had already lost the privilege of installing, operating, and maintaining radio broadcasting stations in the country," the NTC says.

August 30, 2020 - 2:27pm

Broadcast journalist Ted Failon is leaving ABS-CBN after 30 years, the network says Sunday, adding his final appearances on "TV Patrol" and "Failon Ngayon sa TeleRadyo" will be on August 31.

"The closure of ABS-CBN's radio broadcast operations led to his painful decision and we respect it. We admire Ted's talent, passion, and commitment to radio as his most effective medium in serving the Filipino people," the network also says.

Last Friday, 12 regional "TV Patrol" programs went off the air also due to a House panel's decision in July to junk ABS-CBN's application for a new franchise.

August 26, 2020 - 1:21pm

ABS-CBN will stop production on 12 local "TV Patrol" programs on August 28, the network announces.

"This unfortunate development is the latest service affected by the denial of ABS-CBN’s franchise by the House of Representatives last July 10, which also led to the closing of ABS-CBN Regional’s operations," it also says.

The following "TV Patrol" programs will have their final broadcast on Friday:

  • TV Patrol North Luzon (Baguio, Dagupan, Ilocos, Isabela and Pampanga)
  • TV Patrol Bicol (Naga, Legazpi)
  • TV Patrol Palawan
  • TV Patrol Southern Tagalog (CALABARZON)
  • TV Patrol Central Visayas (Cebu, Dumaguete, Bohol)
  • TV Patrol Negros (Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental)
  • TV Patrol Panay (Iloilo, Capiz, Aklan, Antique, Guimaras)
  • TV Patrol Eastern Visayas (Samar, Leyte)
  • TV Patrol Northern Mindanao (Misamis Oriental, Misamis Occidental Lanao Del Norte, CARAGA, Dipolog)
  • TV Patrol South Central Mindanao (SOCSKSARGEN, Cotabato)
  • TV Patrol Southern Mindanao (Davao)
  • TV Patrol Chavacano (Zamboanga)

These programs go off the air as regional newspapers and media outlets grapple with the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Regional newspapers, a vital source of community news, have had to reduce pages or shift to online news in recent months. 

July 22, 2020 - 8:59am

Lawmakers of the Makabayan bloc ask the House committee on legislative franchise to submit the report and the adopted resolution denying the franchise of ABS-CBN to the plenary for ratification.

In a letter addressed to Rep. Franz Alvarez (Palawan), Rep. Carlos Zarate (Bayan Muna Party-list) points out that the decision of the House panel to deny ABS-CBN a new franchise requires the approval of the entire lower chamber of Congress.

"Again, we reiterate that it is the duty, and in fact the right, of every member of the House to voice the opinion of their constituents through a plenary vote," the letter reads.

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