MANILA – Twitter users are standing with ABS-CBN after the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) ordered the network Tuesday to stop broadcasting following the expiration of its franchise.
The hashtag #NoToABSCBNShutDown topped Twitter trending list in the Philippines late Tuesday afternoon, calling on the government to let the country’s largest entertainment and media conglomerate to stay on air.
"This is how liberty dies..." with dead air. #DefendPressFreedom,” Former Supreme Court spokesperson Theodore Te wrote on Twitter.
The College Editors Guild of the Philippines also condemned NTC’s move, saying it is a “desperate move by the Duterte administration to gag the free press.”
“In this pandemic we need the media to tell us our country's current situation. ABS-CBN has a wide reach in the Philippines, especially its regional networks,” another Twitter user wrote.
On Sunday, Solicitor General Jose Calida cautioned NTC against issuing ABS-CBN a provisional authority to operate while its application for franchise renewal remains pending in Congress.
Calida had also lodged a quo warranto petition against the company's franchise that expired May 4 as he accused ABS-CBN of abuses like illegal pay-per-view offering and foreign ownership.
The Lopez-led network, which reaches millions of Filipinos through its television, radio and online platforms, said it had not violated the law in its 65-year service.
ABS-CBN and its subsidiaries have over 11,000 employees.
News.abs-cbn.com is the official news website of ABS-CBN Corp.