May 15, 2021

Duterte demands the closure of the largest television network in the Philippines



The Philippine government of Rodrigo Duterte staged a new attack on the media today asking the Supreme Court to close ABS-CBN, the largest television network in the Philippines and one of its most relevant media.

The attorney general, Jose Calida – a figure that in the Philippines is equivalent to that of the government’s lawyer -, presented today to the Supreme Court a petition so that the license for ABS-CBN is not renewed, which expires in March 2020 after 25 years operating .

The decision to renew the license rests with Congress, but the Supreme Court, with a majority of the president’s allied magistrates, can intervene in that resolution.

Calida himself went personally to the Supreme Court on Monday to present his resolution, in which he alleges that ABS-CBN “is exercising illegally”, since it is partially financed with foreign capital, which violates the Philippine law on national media.

“The media giant has hidden behind an elaborate corporate veil and has allowed foreign investors to participate in the ownership of a Philippine media entity,” Calida said in a statement.

This is the same argument with which the Duterte administration already tried to suspend the license two years ago of the Rappler portal, directed by the journalist Maria Ressa, which has several pending causes with justice that many organizations consider “attacks on press freedom “for his critical journalism.

The movement against ABS-CBN has not surprised, since President Duterte himself had threatened several months ago to close the media, where more than 11,000 journalists work.

Duterte, who has repeatedly accused the media of publishing “unfair” information about him, urged the owners of the corporation last December to sell the chain to Filipino investors or close the media.

Some media suggest that the enmity of the president with the chain was developed during the 2016 presidential race, when ABS-CBN refused to issue an election announcement for the Duterte campaign.

“We must not allow the revenge of one man, no matter how powerful, overflow constitutionally guaranteed freedoms, such as freedom of the press and expression, as well as the right of the people to know,” the National Trade Union denounced in a statement. Filipino journalists.

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