Dead Air

Stories from the Night of the ABS-CBN Shutdown

Compiled by Jeff Canoy and Anjo Bagaoisan, ABS-CBN News

“Now signing off.”

These were the last three words that millions of Filipinos heard from ABS-CBN on free-to-air television across the country.

It has been a year since ABS-CBN’s free TV and radio channels were forced to go off the air by the government in the middle of a global pandemic.

For many, May 5, 2020 punctuated the end of an era and marked what observers describe as one of the biggest blows to media freedom and access to information in the nation’s history.

For those working in ABS-CBN, May 5 is a date that will forever be marred by memories of the shutdown. A date when thousands of jobs were put in jeopardy in the middle of an already crippling pandemic. A date when the grieving—those whose lives were left uncertain— could not even give each other comforting hugs because of the virus threat.

“Now signing off.”

These were the last three words heard on air. But there are many more untold stories from that night.

Here is a collection of stories, images and videos from those most affected by the night when ABS-CBN screens turned black, its radio channels went silent, and there was nothing left but dead air.