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Broadcasting Media Freedom of the Press

Philippines takes ABS-CBN off air after 25 years


By Shawn Lim, Reporter, Asia Pacific

May 6, 2020 | 2 min read

The Philippines media conglomerate ABS-CBN has been ordered to stop its broadcasting operations after 25 years by the country’s government.


The broadcaster said it would comply with NTC’s orders.

ABS-CBN has been in constant loggerheads with Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte after the broadcaster refused to show the president’s campaign advertisements in 2016.

Since then, the president has threatened to block the renewal of ABS-CBN's franchise. On Tuesday, that became a reality when the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), Philippines' telecoms body, ordered ABS-CBN to cease operations after its franchise expired a day earlier.

The broadcaster, which employs 7,000 people, also distributes online content. It said it would comply with NTC’s orders but urged the Philippines parliament to reconsider renewing its franchise.

"We trust that the government will decide on our franchise with the best interest of the Filipino people in mind, recognising ABS-CBN's role and efforts in providing the latest news and information during these challenging times," the channel said in a statement.

ABS-CBN added that it had been given assurances that it could carry on broadcasting while parliament debated over its fate, but NTC deputy commissioner Edgardo Cabarios said that the order for the channel to stop operations is an immediate decision.

He said ABS-CBN could appeal through the courts and gave ABS-CBN 10 days to respond and explain why frequencies assigned to it should not be recalled.

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