Businesses urge gov't: Bring back ABS-CBN
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Businesses urged the government to get media giant ABS-CBN back on-air, after the network was forced to sign off due to the expiration of its congressional franchise.
The Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) said Tuesday, May 5, was "a sad day for media freedom and the thousands of people and their families who will be adversely affected by the closure of ABS-CBN."
"We in MAP had fervently hoped that this day would never come as we, together with other business organizations, strongly urged Congress to consider in a timely and judicious manner the renewal of ABS CBN's broadcasting franchise," said MAP president Francis Lim in a statement.
MAP is an organization composed of almost 800 chief executives of Philippine companies.
The Makati Business Club (MBC) also expressed concern over the shutdown, adding that it is a "blow to press freedom, which is a pillar of democratic societies."
"It is also a setback at a time when the country needs to be united against the pandemic. Now more than ever, everyone should be working together on the singular goal of helping each other through this crisis," MBC said.
MBC urged Congress to address legitimate issues against the company, if any, while defending constitutional rights and freedoms.
It added that Congress should apply equal treatment to ABS-CBN as it does to other companies with expired franchises and pending applications, to preserve broadcast systems that can "deliver truth, news, and information to even the farthest points of the country, especially at this time."
The shutdown, ordered by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), comes at a critical time when Filipinos need key information about the coronavirus crisis. (READ: 'An act of betrayal,' Rappler says on closure order vs ABS-CBN)
Aside from its television channel, ABS-CBN's radio stations DZMM and MOR were also ordered to stop operations.
The media giant has around 11,000 workers, raising concerns about job security as a recession looms.
ABS-CBN was given 10 days from the receipt of the NTC order to respond and explain why the frequencies assigned to it should not be recalled. – Rappler.com