September 19, 2020

ABS-CBN: Philippines’ biggest broadcaster forced off air

The Philippines’ top broadcaster has gone off air after it was ordered by the media regulator to stop operations.

ABS-CBN said it had been told it could continue broadcasting while it waited for Congress to renew its licence, which expired on Monday.

But the regulator said it must stop on Tuesday.

The channel has in the past angered President Rodrigo Duterte, who correspondents say is well-known for silencing media critics.

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Philippines country profile
Just before its main channel went dark, Chairman Mark Lopez told viewers: “It’s painful for us that we are being shut down, but it’s also painful for millions of our countrymen who believe that our service is important to them.”

In an earlier statement, ABS-CBN said it would stop operations on Tuesday evening to comply with the order from the National Telecommunications Commission, and urged lawmakers in Congress, the lower house of parliament, to renew 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.

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