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Philippines: FORUM-ASIA responds to the cease and desist order against Philippine media network ABS-CBN

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On the issuance of a cease and desist order by the Philippines National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) against media network ABS-CBN on 5 May, FORUM-ASIA’s Executive Director Shamini Darshni Kaliemuthu said:

The cease and desist order is another attack against press freedom in the Philippines, at a time when access to information is most vital. The Government of the Philippines should facilitate the free flow of information especially in the face of a global health crisis, instead of relentlessly targeting its media institutions and suppressing press freedom.

It is particularly concerning that the pressure to close down the network comes from the country’s Solicitor General, who threatened to prosecute the NTC should ABS-CBN be granted a provisional license. The Department of Justice and several legislators had earlier recommended the granting of a provisional license, pending Congress’ decision on franchise renewal.

The country’s press has been instrumental in promoting State accountability, and in reporting the extent of human rights violations when it comes to repressive policies, such as the ‘war on drugs’. The Government’s consistent attacks against the press highlight how severely civic space in the country has narrowed, and how the media is increasingly targeted in its reprisals.

FORUM-ASIA, as a regional network of human rights organisations with a presence in the Philippines, continues to stand for press freedom.

For media inquiries, please contact the Communication and Media Programme at [email protected]