Duterte vows to block renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise
President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday said he would block the renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise.
Duterte accused the network of “swindling” and slammed the media giant for supposedly not airing his political ad that was already paid during the campaign period last year.
Asked if he would block the renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise, he said: “Yes.”
“If ganoon ka kaano, you’re engaged in swindling for all we know ilang kompanya dito na hindi n’yo pinalabas. If you operate, ABS-CBN, tapos manloloko lang kayo ng tao, mag-swindling kayo, I have to stop you, ‘di ba?” he told reporters in an ambush interview in Malacañang.
“[The franchise] has been there for 25 years. The law said it’s okay, only if you adhere to journalistic standards,” he said. ABS-CBN’s franchise will expire on March 30, 2020.
INQUIRER.net tried to reach ABS-CBN for comment but it has yet to issue a statement as of posting time.
But in April, when Duterte first blasted the network, the owner of ABS-CBN Corp. brushed aside the President’s criticism of bias against the media giant, saying it came with the territory.
“It’s part and parcel of our work being a media institution,” Eugenio “Gabby” L. Lopez III, ABS-CBN chair, told a worried shareholder during the company’s annual meeting on April 27.
ABS-CBN and the Philippine Daily Inquirer were singled out by President Duterte among the media organizations that have showed or published what he deemed to be unfair or slanted reports about him, including those on his war on drugs. The death toll of the Philippine National Police’s anti-drug operations has drawn attention and condemnation in the Philippines and abroad.
“Let me just say, we have not yet encountered an administration that at one point or another had not had some issue with the media in general, and ABS-CBN in particular,” Lopez said.
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