The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has issued a Cease and Desist Order against ABS-CBN due to the expiration of its congressional franchise.
The NTC issued the order on May 5, 2020, which directs ABS-CBN to stop operating its TV and radio broadcasting stations in the Philippines because of the absence of a valid Congressional Franchise as required by law.
ABS-CBN was given ten days from receipt of the Order to respond as to why the frequencies assigned to it should not be recalled.
The NTC Regional Offices shall implement the closure order in their respective areas of jurisdiction.
After the receipt of ABS-CBN’s response, the NTC shall schedule the case for hearing after the ECQ is lifted.
The Radio Control Law, Act No. 3846, requires ABS-CBN to obtain a franchise from Congress before it can operate TV and radio broadcasting stations. Republic Act No. 7996, granted ABS-CBN a 25-year franchise, however, that franchise expired on May 4, 2020.
According to Inquirer.net, 11 bills were filed seeking the renewal of the franchise of ABS-CBN, the earliest was filed in July 2019. The bills remain pending before the House committee on legislative franchises.
ABS-CBN has released a statement on the cease and desist order issued by the NTC, saying that “millions of Filipinos will lose their source of news and entertainment when ABS-CBN is ordered to go off-air on TV and radio tonight (5 May 2020) when people need crucial and timely information as the nation deals with the COVID-19 pandemic.”
See full statement below:
Other businesses can continue to operate
ABS-CBN also reported that its other units and subsidiaries can still continue operating because they don’t need a congressional franchise. This includes online assets like news, entertainment, and sports websites.
The company’s iWant video streaming service app will continue to deliver content.
ANC, or the ABS-CBN News Channel, can also continue broadcasting as the NTC order does not cover cable news channels.
ABS-CBN’s Facebook accounts, ABS-CBN Entertainment channel’s YouTube account, and Star Cinema will continue to operate.
READ: The NTC directs ABS-CBN to “stop operating its various TV and radio broadcasting stations nationwide;” asks the media company to explain within 10 days why the frequencies assigned to it should not be recalled. | via @mikenavallo pic.twitter.com/0b43o5n455
— ABS-CBN News (@ABSCBNNews) May 5, 2020