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AFP
February 11, 2020

Manila to shut down top broadcaster

World

AFP
February 11, 2020

MANILA: Philippine government lawyers moved on Monday to strip the nation’s biggest media group of its operating franchise in what campaigners branded a fresh attack on press freedom under President Rodrigo Duterte.

Duterte has repeatedly pledged he would stop the broadcast operations of ABS-CBN, which drew his anger during his rise to power in the 2016 presidential election campaign. The solicitor general’s petition filed with the nation’s top court alleges ABS-CBN violated provisions of its 25-year operating franchise.

"We want to put an end to what we discovered to be highly abusive practices by ABS-CBN," Solicitor-General Jose Calida said in a statement. The move comes as the broadcaster was working publicly and privately to convince lawmakers to renew its franchise, which expires March 30.

Early in his term Duterte accused the network of failing to air his 2016 campaign advertisements and not returning the payments, and has since singled it our for ire in his speeches. 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.