A Philippine government agency has ordered the country's leading broadcast network, which the president has targeted for its critical news coverage, to halt operations.
The National Telecommunications Commission ordered ABS-CBN Corp. to stop operations after its 25-year congressional franchise ended Monday.
The network's application for a renewal has been pending in Congress. Congressional leaders have asked the commission to grant it a temporary license to continue operations while its renewal request is pending, but the government's solicitor general has said it cannot operate without an approved franchise.
Media watchdogs have accused President Rodrigo Duterte of trying to muzzle critical independent media, but government officials said the network must comply with the law.
The broadcasting giant is expected to comply with the directive.
“Millions of Filipinos will lose their source of news and entertainment when ABS-CBN is ordered to go off-air on TV and radio tonight (5 May 2020) when people need crucial and timely information as the nation deals with the COVID-19 pandemic,” the company said in a statement.
“This in compliance with the cease and desist order issued by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) today that prohibits ABS-CBN from continuing its broadcast operations effective immediately,” the statement added.
Check the full statement below.