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Philippine Broadcaster ABS-CBN to Stop Broadcasting

Cease and Desist order Issued by broadcasting authorities

headliner101 West Country (West) Points West
UPDATE: It's flagship newscast is streaming live again even as the channel itself remains off-air. It's running longer than normal (usually 75 minutes but today likely to exceed two hours). Other than that, it's like business as usual at the newscast and the journalists are in full force.
headliner101 West Country (West) Points West
UPDATE: It turns out that the network may return to the airwaves in a fortnight or two as the lower House has approved a bill to give it a provisional franchise (until Halloween) to allow the network to operate while the inquiry to give it a more 'permanent' licence is ongoing.

9 days later

whoiam989 World News
The Philippines' House of Representatives dropped the provisional franchise proposal, and instead will go straight to the renewal of 25-year franchise.

Meanwhile, it looks like ABS-CBN's fate now lies with the Supreme Court.

That aside, couldn't the López family company shorten the network's name to, for example, 'ACB' (for Alto-Chronicle Broadcasting), or is it too late for that?

[ Edit: I mixed up the names of houses in the Philippine Congress. Corrected now.]
Last edited by whoiam989 on 23 May 2020 1:55pm
headliner101 West Country (West) Points West
It's actually the House of Representatives that dropped the bill. But I am much more disappointed with the SC's decision to not issue an immediate TRO given that even if they decided to pass the provisional franchise, who knows what delays the broadcaster could face once the ball is in the executive branch's court?

An alternative ABS-CBN should consider is to make channel 2 free-to-air or free-to-view temporarily on satellite.

49 days later

The House of Representatives denies Franchise Application of ABS-CBN:

Allies of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte in the House of Representatives voted on Friday to deny the renewal of ABS-CBN's broadcast franchise, affirming a government order to shut down the country's largest television network in a move critics say is a major blow to press freedom in the Southeast Asian nation.

Congress members voted against giving the company another 25-year licence to operate after a total of 12 public hearings and testimony establishing the channel had violated no legal provisions.

Of the 85 committee members in charge of the renewal, 70 voted to deny, 11 voted for the renewal, two voted to inhibit and one abstained from voting.

In a last-minute move, at least two sponsors of the legislation pushing for the renewal withdrew their support.

Ahead of the vote, Carlos Zarate, a minority House member, made a last-minute plea for approval saying, "Why would we punish a company that did not breach our laws?"

But Rodante Marcoleta, a majority member of the House and one of the channel's fiercest critics, said regardless of the legal argument in favour of ABS-CBN, "it is the will of Congress that should be accorded due respect", whether they vote for or against.

In the same session, Alan Peter Cayetano, Duterte's handpicked House Speaker, hinted about the outcome of the vote, arguing that it was "not press freedom" that was at stake. He said it was a question of the media protecting its own business interests.

Cayetano, who was Duterte's vice presidential running mate in 2016, had also accused ABS-CBN of "biased" reporting. The president and vice president are elected separately in the Philippines. Cayetano lost in that race.

At the final hearing on Monday, ABS-CBN News and current affairs chief Ging Reyes defended the channel's news reporting standards, which have been attacked by the president's allies.

Reyes also spoke about how the closure had denied millions of Filipinos access to information.

"The shutdown has deprived more than 69 million Filipinos of the kind of information, analysis and commentary, and public service provided by ABS-CBN News. It has cut off our reach such that two out of three viewers are unable to watch our news programmes," Reyes said.

ABS-CBN was ordered to shut on May 5 by the country's regulator, the National Telecommunication Commission, which is part of President Duterte's office, a day after the channel's 25-year franchise expired. The franchise does not cover its digital presence, its cable channel, ANC, and its global affiliate, The Filipino Channel.

But with the closure order, thousands of ABS-CBN employees could lose their jobs. According to ABS-CBN, it has a total of 11,000 permanent and freelance contract workers.

In a statement to Al Jazeera on Friday, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) denounced the House of Representatives saying "it has declared itself enemy of democracy".

"Today, this chamber has lost all claim to represent the people and our interests," NUJP said.

David Dizon, senior editor of ABS-CBN news website, told Al Jazeera that he was "gutted" by the decision of Congress, adding that in all his 20 years of working for the company, he knows that it "has always strive to pursue excellence in reporting - accurate, fair, and balanced."

"It has been a long and hard journey for ABS-CBN and to see the committee vote go that way is disheartening."
Brekkie Wales Wales Today
A sad day for democracy.
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headliner101 West Country (West) Points West
The fact that the House would not let them have even a provisional licence and wanted to proceed to the inquiry should have been ominous, FWIW.
whoiam989 World News
They are continuing their entertainment programmes on their 'interim' channel named Kapamilya Channel, which is available on cable and satellite. Their news operation is also continuing, through their online outlets and through ANC TV channel. Their streaming and international services are also continuing. But I don't know if they will have the same power like when they had terrestrial TV and radio networks.

The only hope seems to be the upcoming General Election (which I expect people to bring Duterte's party a landslide defeat). Or is there any other way?

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