Regional Journalist Unions urges Philippines Congress to put ABS-CBN back on air

While the Philippines Congress prepares to vote on the future of the Philippines’ largest broadcaster ABS-CBN, South East Asia Journalist Unions (SEAJU) stand in solidarity and demand legislators restore ABS-CBN’s franchise. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and SEAJU call on politicians to support the application for ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal.

NUJP, hundreds of ABS-CBN employees, and supporters held its second caravan to the House of the Representative. Credit: NUJP

The hearings on ABS-CBN is handled by the House of Representatives legislative franchise committee, together with the committee on good government and public accountability. The summation of issues was held today on July 9, delaying the vote to July 10.  

The joint committee has held 12 hearings since May 26, 2020 on ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal discussing various issues including the dual citizenship of the broadcasting chairman emeritus Eugenio “Gabby” Lopez III, allegations of political bias related to unaired advertisements of political candidates in past elections and accusations of tax avoidance.

The legislative franchise committee is made up of 92 legislators, consisting of 46 members of the legislative franchises panel and 46 House leaders who are ex-officio members of the panel. If the legislators’ votes for ABS-CBN franchise renewal, the application from the network will be discussed in the plenary of the House of Representatives.

ABS-CBN employees and advocates held a caravan to the House of Representatives on July 9 to support ABS-CBN’s franchise approval. This is one of various activities organised by IFJ’s affiliate the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines who also arranged the Black Friday protests to support ABS-CBN.

SEAJU said: “The Philippine Congress must not curtail the public's right to know or to choose how to access information. The ABS-CBN franchise is central to ensuring people have free choice about their future, allowing a selection of entertainment that provides a respite from the hardships of life.”

The IFJ said: “Legislators must prioritise the public interest, freedom of expression and the job security that will be provided by ABS-CBN’s renewal. The IFJ calls on the Philippines Congress to pass ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal application and restore the company’s broadcast immediately.”

For further information contact IFJ Asia - Pacific on ifj@ifj-asia.org

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries

Twitter: @ifjasiapacific, on Facebook: IFJAsiaPacific and Instagram