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Philippine lawmakers deny top broadcaster new license

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  • Post last modified:10/07/2020
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MANILA: Philippine lawmakers refused Friday to issue a new operating license for the country’s broadcasting giant ABS-CBN, in the latest blow to media outlets critical of President Rodrigo Duterte’s policies.
The lower house committee voted 70-11 to reject ABS-CBN’s application for another 25-year franchise, after it was forced off the air in May over a stalled renewal of its previous license, which Duterte had pledged to block.
The results of the vote – slammed by critics as an assault on press freedom – could potentially keep the radio, TV and internet giant from broadcasting until the end of Duterte’s term in 2022.
ABS-CBN president Carlo Katigbak said the company was “deeply hurt” by the decision.
“We believe that we have been rendering service that is meaningful and valuable to the Filipino public,” Katigbak said in a statement.
“We hope to find other ways to achieve our mission.”
Hundreds of ABS-CBN employees, including some of its biggest stars, protested outside Congress on Friday in a last-ditch effort to convince lawmakers to vote in their favor.
About 11,000 jobs could be lost due to the shutdown, ABS-CBN said previously.
During more than a dozen hearings lasting over a hundred hours, Duterte allies alleged ABS-CBN’s honorary chairman and top shareholder Eugenio Lopez was an American citizen which disqualified him from owning a Philippine media company.
They also accused the network of tax evasion, interfering in elections and abusing employees’ rights.
ABS-CBN denies the allegations.
“Today’s vote…is an astounding display of obsequious behavior by Congressional representatives, kowtowing to Duterte by agreeing to seriously limit media freedom in the Philippines,” Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director for Human Rights Watch, said in a statement. | YouTube Channel


Sania Jamali

Sania Jamali, who studied Media in UAE, is associated with since its inception (2015) mostly reporting International Politics.