Rescind the cease and desist order against Philippine TV network ABS-CBN !


Rescind the cease and desist order against Philippine TV network ABS-CBN !

On May 5, 2020, just two days after World Press Freedom Day, the Philippine’s National Telecommunications Commission issued a cease and desist order that shut down the operations of the Philippine’s largest broadcast network, the ABS-CBN after its franchise ended on May 4, 2020. Through this punitive action, the regulatory body deprived 11,000 broadcast workers and artists their livelihood. It also deprived millions of Filipinos a major source of news and entertainment amid the COVID-19 crisis and the lockdown the government ordered because of the pandemic.

Since the beginning of his term in 2016, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has repeatedly expressed his animosity towards ABS-CBN and have on several occasions, publicly threatened the network that its franchise will not be renewed. 

The closure of ABS-CBN follows a disturbing trend of the increasing erosion of trade union and human rights as well as the curtailment of press freedom and the right of free expression. Media outfits and media practitioners critical of the Duterte Administration have been harassed. Punitive actions taken against these media outfits which now culminates in the closure of the biggest broadcast network in the country.

In response to cease and desist order against ABS-CBN UNI Apro Regional Secretary, Rajendra Acharya said: “UNI Apro condemns the closure of ABS-CBN and the continuing erosion of press freedom in the Philippines and stands in solidarity with its affiliate, the National Alliance of Broadcast Unions (NABU) and the UNI Global Union Philippine Liaison Council (UNI-PLC), in urging the Philippine government to rescind the closure order against the ABS-CBN.”

The president of the NHK broadcasting union NIPPORO and chair of UNI Apro’s media, entertainment & arts sector Masatoshi Nakamura said “UNI Apro MEI and the entire global community of broadcasting unions affiliated to UNI call upon the Philippine Congress to renew the broadcast franchise of ABS-CBN with safeguards that protect workers’ rights particularly the right to security of tenure. The erosion of press freedom and the continuing deterioration of trade union and human rights needs to be stopped.”

In a statement released today, UNI affiliates in the Philippines through their liaison committee (UNI PLC) expressed supports for the efforts of the NABU and other labour unions to protect the job and welfare of media workers at the ABS-CBN, DZMM, and ABS-CBN subsidiaries and regional radio and television stations who stand to lose their jobs at a time of grave societal crisis.

“The government is not only robbing the country of information and stripping 11,000 families of their livelihoods, it is undermining democracy,” said Christy Hoffman, General Secretary of UNI Global Union. “ABS-CBN should immediately get its franchise reinstated, and press freedom must be protected in the Philippines.”

Read here the statements of UNI PLC and UNI Apro MEI on ABS-CBN Network closure.

Express your support by using the hashtag: #NoToABSCBNShutdown

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