AAJA-Asia Statement on the Shutdown of ABS-CBN by the Philippine Government

The Asian American Journalists Association’s Asia Chapter (AAJA-Asia) strongly condemns the Philippine government’s shutdown of ABS-CBN, the country’s largest broadcaster. The Philippine National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) — a government regulatory agency under the office of the president — issued a  “cease and desist” order against the popular news outlet on May 5.

Although the ruling does not affect its other platforms, such as cable and online, ABS-CBN’s free TV and radio services stopped airing since the order, depriving all Filipinos of a vital source of information at a time when accurate news is more needed than ever to fight the coronavirus pandemic.    

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte had earlier warned that he would not allow the renewal of ABS-CBN’s broadcast franchise. This move is an assault on media freedom and echoes other attempts by the current Filipino government to silence media outlets critical of its administration, such as news website Rappler and the popular newspaper the Philippine Daily Inquirer. 

AAJA-Asia expresses solidarity with ABS-CBN’s thousands of media workers whose livelihoods are now at risk and urges the Philippine authorities to rescind the shut down order and renew the broadcaster’s franchise in order to preserve freedom of the press and democracy in the Philippines. 

The AAJA-Asia Board of Directors

About AAJA-Asia

The Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) is a nonprofit educational and professional organization with more than 1,500 members across the U.S. and Asia.

The Asia chapter of AAJA represents members across the Asia-Pacific region. It is a diverse, multi-ethnic community of local and international journalists and media professionals committed to supporting a vibrant press in the Asia-Pacific region. We are committed to advancing diversity and inclusion in media organizations, providing training opportunities to members, supporting students interested in journalism and advocating for fair media access.