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ABS-CBN shutdown a 'blow' to press freedom: Makati Business Club

An elderly couple shares their memories about watching ABS-CBN over the years moments before the network giant signed off on May 5, 2020. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News


 MANILA - The shutdown of ABS-CBN is a "blow" to press freedom and a setback as the country grapples with the coronavirus pandemic, the Makati Business Club said Wednesday. 

The National Telecommunications Commission on Tuesday issued a cease and desist order against ABS-CBN for operating without a license despite calls from lawmakers to grant the network with a provisional authority to operate. It's franchise expired on May 4.

ABS-CBN went off air late Tuesday in compliance with the NTC order. 

"The shutdown of ABS-CBN Corp's broadcast operations will be a blow to press freedom, which is a pillar of democratic societies such as ours," the MBC said in a statement. 

"It is also a setback at a time when the country needs to be unified against the pandemic. Now more than ever, everyone should be working together on the singular goal of helping each other through this crisis," the group said.

The MBC "strongly supports" balanced, fair and swift consideration of the bills filed to renew ABS-CBN's franchise, it said. 

The Congress should uphold constitutional rights and equal treatment as other companies with expired franchises as they address issues surrounding the franchise, the group said.