Philippine president seeks shutdown of country’s leading broadcaster

The Philippine government on February 10 moved to close the country’s leading broadcast network, ABS-CBN, the latest push by the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte against media outlets that have been critical of his leadership.

In a legal filing before the highest court, Duterte’s top lawyer, Solicitor General Jose Calida, said ABS-CBN television network committed “highly abusive practices” in its operations, and its franchise should be revoked. Calida also alleged that ABS-CBN was “hiding behind an elaborately crafted corporate veil,” allowing foreign entities to invest in the company, “in gross violation of the foreign interest restriction” spelled out in the constitution.

The move comes as the broadcaster was working publicly and privately to convince lawmakers to renew its franchise, which expires March 30.

Duterte displeased with television network’s political stance

Since becoming president in 2016, Duterte has expressed his disdain towards the television network, which is owned by one of the richest families in the Philippines.

He claimed the channel had refused to run his political advertisements during the campaign – allegations the network has denied – and last year said he would block the renewal of the network’s 25-year legislative franchise.

“This ABS, your contract will expire, and you try to renew. I don’t know what will happen to you. If I were you, just sell it,” he said in December.

Broadcaster denies allegations

ABS-CBN, whose news and entertainment shows reach tens of millions of Filipinos online and via TV and radio, said it has done nothing wrong.

“We did not violate the law. This case appears to be an attempt to deprive Filipinos of the services of ABS-CBN,” the broadcaster said in a statement.

“These allegations… are without merit. ABS-CBN complies with all pertinent laws governing its franchise and has secured all necessary government and regulatory approvals for its business operations,” it added.

ABS-CBN is part of Lopez Holdings, a Manila-headquartered, publicly listed conglomerate with interests in media, telecommunication, power generation and distribution, real estate, infrastructure, manufacturing, aviation and various other services. The Lopez family, an influential clan from Iloilo with Chinese ancestry, owns the majority of the shares.



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The Philippine government on February 10 moved to close the country’s leading broadcast network, ABS-CBN, the latest push by the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte against media outlets that have been critical of his leadership. In a legal filing before the highest court, Duterte’s top lawyer, Solicitor General Jose Calida, said ABS-CBN television network committed "highly abusive practices" in its operations, and its franchise should be revoked. Calida also alleged that ABS-CBN was “hiding behind an elaborately crafted corporate veil,” allowing foreign entities to invest in the company, "in gross violation of the foreign interest restriction" spelled out in the...

The Philippine government on February 10 moved to close the country’s leading broadcast network, ABS-CBN, the latest push by the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte against media outlets that have been critical of his leadership.

In a legal filing before the highest court, Duterte’s top lawyer, Solicitor General Jose Calida, said ABS-CBN television network committed “highly abusive practices” in its operations, and its franchise should be revoked. Calida also alleged that ABS-CBN was “hiding behind an elaborately crafted corporate veil,” allowing foreign entities to invest in the company, “in gross violation of the foreign interest restriction” spelled out in the constitution.

The move comes as the broadcaster was working publicly and privately to convince lawmakers to renew its franchise, which expires March 30.

Duterte displeased with television network’s political stance

Since becoming president in 2016, Duterte has expressed his disdain towards the television network, which is owned by one of the richest families in the Philippines.

He claimed the channel had refused to run his political advertisements during the campaign – allegations the network has denied – and last year said he would block the renewal of the network’s 25-year legislative franchise.

“This ABS, your contract will expire, and you try to renew. I don’t know what will happen to you. If I were you, just sell it,” he said in December.

Broadcaster denies allegations

ABS-CBN, whose news and entertainment shows reach tens of millions of Filipinos online and via TV and radio, said it has done nothing wrong.

“We did not violate the law. This case appears to be an attempt to deprive Filipinos of the services of ABS-CBN,” the broadcaster said in a statement.

“These allegations… are without merit. ABS-CBN complies with all pertinent laws governing its franchise and has secured all necessary government and regulatory approvals for its business operations,” it added.

ABS-CBN is part of Lopez Holdings, a Manila-headquartered, publicly listed conglomerate with interests in media, telecommunication, power generation and distribution, real estate, infrastructure, manufacturing, aviation and various other services. The Lopez family, an influential clan from Iloilo with Chinese ancestry, owns the majority of the shares.



Support ASEAN news

Investvine has been a consistent voice in ASEAN news for more than a decade. From breaking news to exclusive interviews with key ASEAN leaders, we have brought you factual and engaging reports – the stories that matter, free of charge.

Like many news organisations, we are striving to survive in an age of reduced advertising and biased journalism. Our mission is to rise above today’s challenges and chart tomorrow’s world with clear, dependable reporting.

Support us now with a donation of your choosing. Your contribution will help us shine a light on important ASEAN stories, reach more people and lift the manifold voices of this dynamic, influential region.

$
Personal Info

Donation Total: $10.00

 

 

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