Author Topic: ABS-CBN: Philippines' biggest broadcaster forced off air  (Read 1677 times)

adroth

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ABS-CBN: Philippines' biggest broadcaster forced off air
« on: May 06, 2020, 10:07:04 AM »
ABS-CBN: Philippines' biggest broadcaster forced off air
5 May 2020

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-52548703

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.

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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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« Last Edit: May 06, 2020, 10:11:50 AM by adroth »

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Re: ABS-CBN: Philippines' biggest broadcaster forced off air
« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2020, 10:12:57 AM »
What happened before

SC orders ABS-CBN to comment on quo warranto suit
By Benjamin Pulta  February 11, 2020, 1:18 pm

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1093499

MANILA -- The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday ordered broadcasting firm ABS-CBN to comment on the quo warranto suit filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida seeking to cancel the firm's franchise.

"Acting on the quo warranto petition filed by Solicitor General Calida on behalf of the Republic against respondents ABS CBN Corp. and ABS CBN Convergence Inc., the Supreme Court in today’s en banc session required the respondents to file their comment to the said petition for quo warranto within a non-extendible period of 10 days from receipt of notice," SC Public Information Office spokesperson Brian Keith Hosaka told newsmen.

The Office of the Solicitor General on Monday filed a quo warranto petition before the high court seeking to forfeit the legislative franchise of the network.

"We want to put an end to what we discovered to be highly abusive practices of ABS-CBN benefitting a greedy few at the expense of millions of its loyal subscribers. These practices have gone unnoticed or were disregarded for years," Calida said.

Calida said ABS-CBN had been hiding behind an "elaborately crafted corporate veil", and alleged that it was allowing foreign investors to take part in the ownership of a Philippine mass media entity by issuing Philippine Deposit Receipts (PDRs) through ABS-CBN Holdings Corp., which is a violation of the 1987 Constitution.

Under the 1987 Constitution, mass media ownership is limited to Filipinos.

"This simply means that mass media companies operating in the Philippines must be 100 percent Filipino-owned because they play an integral role in the nation's economic, political, and socio-political landscape," Calida said.

Calida added the broadcasting firm "abused" the privilege granted by the State when it launched and operated a pay-per-view channel in ABS-CBN TV Plus, the KBO Channel, without prior approval or permit from the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).

"While it is true that broadcasting is a business, the welfare of the people must not be sacrificed in the pursuit of profit," Calida said.

Calida said ABS-CBN Convergence, Inc. resorted to an "ingenious corporate layering scheme" in order to transfer its franchise without the necessary congressional approval.

"The legislative franchises of ABS-CBN Corporation and its subsidiary, ABS-CBN Convergence, Inc. must be revoked. A franchise is a special privilege granted by the State, and should be restricted only to entities which faithfully adhere to our Constitution," he said.

In a statement, ABS-CBN denied Calida's allegations and insisted on its compliance with all laws governing its franchise.

"All our broadcast offerings, including KBO, have received the necessary government and regulatory approvals and are not prohibited by our franchise," the network said.

It also reiterated that its PDRs "were evaluated and approved" by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Philippine Stock Exchange prior to its public offering.

At least 11 lawmakers filed proposals to take up whether the Lopez-controlled firm's congressional franchise should be granted when its original franchise expires on March 30.

Under the law, the grantees of a broadcasting franchise must secure from the government, through the NTC, the required permits and licenses for their operation. (PNA)

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Re: ABS-CBN: Philippines' biggest broadcaster forced off air
« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2020, 10:35:23 AM »
Senators weigh in on NTC’s order vs. ABS-CBN
By Jose Cielito Reganit  May 5, 2020, 8:47 pm

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1101985

MANILA – Several senators on Tuesday expressed varying opinions after the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) ordered ABS-CBN Corp. to stop its television and radio broadcast operations due to the expiration of its congressional franchise on May 4.

Senator Christopher Lawrence "Bong" Go said the matter of allowing ABS-CBN to operate after the NTC order is "now with the House of Representatives."

"There is a bill seeking to renew the franchise of the media corporation now pending before the Lower House. Now that session has already resumed, I am urging the House of Representatives to act on this matter with due haste," he said in a statement.

"Upon reaching the Senate and once we have had a chance to conduct our own hearings on the matter, that is when I will decide and vote according to my conscience and the interest of the Filipino people," Go said.

Senator Grace Poe echoed Go’s position, saying the ball is in the court of the House where legislative franchises emanate.

“I don’t think there’s a problem with us solving this issue,” she said, referring to the Senate.

Poe, however, expressed fears that the development may lead to the displacement of thousands of ABS-CBN workers.

“I think this is another angle that needs to be looked at by the NTC. Ngayon pa sila magpapasara kung kailan ang daming walang trabaho (They ordered the stoppage at a time when many have no jobs),” she said.

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri said the NTC order is “irregular and improper” amid the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.

“I'm really saddened by the move of NTC. We can cite many instances when the NTC granted provisional authority for those still applying for their franchises,” he said.

Zubiri said the network company could go to the Supreme Court and cite these “instances” to ask for a temporary restraining order (TRO).

Senator Sonny Angara said the NTC order “seems ill-advised and heavy-handed” from the standpoint of law and public policy.

He pointed out that both the Senate and the House, and even the Department of Justice (DOJ), have issued resolutions and opinions favoring the issuance of a provisional authority for the media entity to operate pending congressional deliberations on its legislative franchise renewal.

“There is the risk of many people losing their jobs or livelihoods in what is a very difficult economic environment. People will also lose a valuable source of reliable information in the middle of a pandemic when our people need reliable information more than ever,” Angara said.

Senator Risa Hontiveros said the NTC's cease-and-desist order (CDO) “is ill-timed and insensitive to the needs of the public.”

“The delivery of timely and correct information is essential to our Covid-19 response. This shutdown order goes against public welfare,” she said.

On the other hand, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon condemned the NTC order as “contrary to law and grave abuse of discretion.”

He said that there is enough precedent where a provisional authority has been issued while the application for renewal of the franchise is pending.

“The Secretary of Justice himself said that with the concurrence of the two Houses with the matter pending, the NTC can issue the provisional authority,” Drilon said.

Senator Francis Pangilinan echoed Drilon in saying that the NTC action was “highly irregular” and “grave abuse of discretion.”

“ABS-CBN should bring the matter before the Supreme Court,” he said.

In a CDO dated May 5, the NTC said ABS-CBN should "stop operating its various TV and radio broadcasting stations nationwide 'absent a valid Congressional Franchise as required by law'."

The order covers 42 television stations across the country, including the flagship Channel 2, 10 digital broadcast channels, 18 FM stations, and 5 AM stations.

The NTC gave the network 10 days from receipt of the order "to respond as to why the frequencies assigned to it should not be recalled."

ABS-CBN said it will stop its broadcast operations Tuesday night in compliance with the NTC order. (PNA)

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Re: ABS-CBN: Philippines' biggest broadcaster forced off air
« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2020, 03:18:22 PM »
Bills to Renew ABS-CBN’s Franchise Have Been Pending in Congress for Years
By PAUL JOHN CAÑA   |   3 days ago

https://www.esquiremag.ph/politics/news/abs-cbn-s-franchise-renewal-bills-a00289-20200506-lfrm

After ABS-CBN was forced to stop TV and radio broadcasting by the National Telecommunications Commission on Tuesday night, questions turned to how exactly the network was put into this position.

Most people already know that, as a broadcast network, ABS-CBN needs to secure a franchise in order to operate, and this franchise can only be obtained through Congress (Republic Act 3846).

These franchises are typically handed out over a period of 25 years. Prior to 2017, GMA Network, a rival company of ABS-CBN, had operated for 25 years on the basis of RA 7252, which was signed into law in March 1992. After that, President Rodrigo Duterte signed RA 10925 on April 2017, effectively allowing GMA Network to keep running and broadcasting for another 25 years.

But what about ABS-CBN?

The Lopez-owned network was last granted a congressional franchise in 1995, after then-President Fidel Ramos signed RA 7966.

The first attempt to renew ABS-CBN’s franchise was made by Isabela Representative Giorgidi Aggabao during the 16th Congress in September 2014. House Bill 4997 never progressed beyond the committee level.

Since then, at least a dozen different bills have been filed in the Lower House seeking to renew ABS-CBN’s franchise, with the earliest one (after Rep Aggabao’s bill) being filed during the 17th Congress in 2018.

Here is a list of all those bills. While a couple are attempts to renew the franchise of ABS-CBN Convergence, formerly known as Multi-Media telephony Inc. (which handles the network’s mobile phone service and TV Plus), most are for the extension of ABS-CBN Corporation, the company’s main arm.

< Edited >

adroth

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Re: ABS-CBN: Philippines' biggest broadcaster forced off air
« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2020, 11:57:20 PM »
ABS-CBN in a bind over franchise renewal
By: Gil C. Cabacungan - Reporter / @gcabacunganINQPhilippine Daily Inquirer / 03:41 AM June 11, 2016

https://business.inquirer.net/210985/abs-cbn-in-a-bind-over-franchise-renewal

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The Inquirer contacted several ABS-CBN executives for comment, but the Lopez-owned broadcast network declined to comment for now.

ABS-CBN’s 25-year franchise expires on March 30, 2020.

A member of the House legislative franchise committee, who declined to be named for lack of authority to speak for the panel, said ABS-CBN had sought the renewal six years before the expiration of its franchise because it didn’t want to risk having to go through the process under an unfriendly administration.

The committee chair, Marikina Rep. Marcelino Teodoro, did not reply to the Inquirer’s calls or text messages seeking comment.

Strong opposition

The House member said ABS-CBN’s application for renewal of franchise faced strong opposition from cable operators, who had demanded a public hearing.

The same source said ABS-CBN’s franchise also lacked support from President Aquino’s allies in the House.

The source said Mr. Aquino’s allies felt the criticisms against the President were too personal and offensive and went to the point of nitpicking.

Without the franchise committee’s approval, ABS-CBN’s application for renewal could not be tackled in the plenary.

In contrast, another broadcasting company had smooth sailing when it applied for the renewal of its franchise. Aliw Broadcasting Corp., a radio station owned by the late businessman Antonio L. Cabangon Chua, got a 25-year extension in 2015, or two years before the expiration of its franchise.

President Aquino signed Republic Act No. 10790 extending the franchise of Aliw Broadcasting Corp. from April 13, 2017, to April 13, 2042.

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Read more: https://business.inquirer.net/210985/abs-cbn-in-a-bind-over-franchise-renewal#ixzz6Lvd0whit
Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook

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Re: ABS-CBN: Philippines' biggest broadcaster forced off air
« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2020, 03:34:34 PM »
ABS-CBN's TV Plus ops violate cease and desist order: NTC
By Filane Mikee Cervantes  June 29, 2020, 4:59 pm

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1107377

MANILA – National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba on Monday said the continued operations of ABS-CBN's digital television service, TV Plus, is a violation of its cease and desist order (CDO) against the network.

During the House hearing on ABS-CBN’s franchise, Cordoba said ABS-CBN’s TV Plus should have ceased operations because the legislative franchise granted by Congress to the network already expired on May 4.

“Dapat po hindi nila ginagawa yun, your honors, dahil 'yung ABS-CBN franchise ay expired na. At yung pag-ere ng digital broadcast doon ay mali po yun, ang ginagawa nila (They should not be doing that, your honors, because ABS-CBN’s franchise has already expired. At the airing [of programs] through digital broadcast is also wrong). That is a violation of the CDO that we issued,” Cordoba said.

ABS-CBN went off the air on May 5 after the NTC issued a cease and desist order against the local media giant following the expiration of its franchise.

"Yung pag-ere ng ABS-CBN ng digital TV sa Channel 43 ay kasama sa CDO dahil ang franchise na ginamit nila for digital broadcasting ay yung ABS-CBN (ABS-CBN's airing of digital TV on Channel 43 is part of the cease and desist order because the franchise that they used for that is ABS-CBN's franchise)," he said.

Cordoba noted that he has received guidance from the Office of the Solicitor General that the NTC is authorized to issue an alias cease and desist order against the continued broadcast of ABS-CBN programs through the digibox.

“Ito ngayon ay inaaral na ng aming legal department. At kung sakaling okay naman ang kanilang pag-aaral ay we will issue 'yung aming alias cease and desist order (Our legal department is currently studying this. And if the study turns out okay, we will issue the alias cease and desist order),” he said.

ABS-CBN President and chief executive officer (CEO) Carlo Katigbak, for his part, pointed out that in the past, the NTC has permitted other broadcast companies -- whose franchises have expired but their application for renewal is pending in Congress -- to continue their operations until such time that the franchise application is either approved or denied.

“We would like permission to ask the same privilege be extended sana (hopefully) to ABS-CBN in the spirit of fairness,” Katigbak said.

He explained that the ABS-CBN is using the franchise of Amcara Broadcasting Network for its Channel 43 operations through a block time arrangement.

Katigbak said a block time arrangement is a standard commercial arrangement where a company is allowed to buy airtime from a duly licensed broadcaster.

Anakalusugan Party-list Rep. Mike Defensor said NTC’s move allowing the continued operation of TV Plus is a usurpation and infringement on the powers of Congress to grant or deny broadcast franchises.

“Malinaw sa akin, it is a violation of the powers of Congress. It is a violation of our constitutional mandate na tayo lang ang magbibigay ng prangkisa (that we are the only ones [with the power] to grant franchises),” Defensor said.

Deputy Majority Leader Boying Remulla said there is a “ripe” case against Cordoba before the Ombudsman for “willfully disobeying the power of Congress to issue franchises and allowing an entity to operate without a franchise and earn money at the same time”. (PNA)

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Re: ABS-CBN: Philippines' biggest broadcaster forced off air
« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2020, 11:35:54 PM »
House committee denies ABS-CBN a new franchise
Christian V. Esguerra, ABS-CBN News
Posted at Jul 10 2020 03:14 PM | Updated as of Jul 10 2020 05:00 PM

https://news.abs-cbn.com/news/07/10/20/house-committee-denies-abs-cbn-a-new-franchise

MANILA (2nd UPDATE) -- Congressmen on Friday voted to "kill" a new broadcast franchise for ABS-CBN Corp., permanently shutting down a major part of the country’s largest media network, in what is seen as part of a worsening crackdown on press freedom under President Rodrigo Duterte.

Voting 70 to 11, the Committee on Legislative Franchises dashed ABS-CBN's hopes to resume operations under a new franchise

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Re: ABS-CBN: Philippines' biggest broadcaster forced off air
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2021, 03:10:28 PM »
House panel’s rejection of ABS-CBN franchise is final, chair says
Xave Gregorio (Philstar.com) - January 28, 2021 - 12:30pm

https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2021/01/28/2073684/house-panels-rejection-abs-cbn-franchise-final-chair-says

MANILA, Philippines — The rejection of ABS-CBN’s application for a fresh franchise by a House committee is already final as no lawmaker appealed its decision, the panel’s chair said Thursday.

House legislative franchises committee chair Rep. Franz Alvarez (Palawan) said that any of the 70 lawmakers who voted to reject the media giant’s application for a franchise could have filed a motion for reconsideration, but none of them did.

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