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Majority of Filipinos support license renewal for embattled ABS-CBN: Poll

  • News Desk

    Reuters

Manila, Philippines   /   Mon, July 13, 2020   /   09:00 am
Majority of Filipinos support license renewal for embattled ABS-CBN: Poll An employee looks at an announcement of a Philippine tv network shutted down on his mobile phone on May 5, 2020. - The Philippines' top broadcaster ABS-CBN was forced off air on May 5 over a stalled operating licence renewal, drawing fresh charges that authorities were cracking down on press freedom. (AFP/Maria Tan)

Three out of four Filipinos wanted Philippine lawmakers to renew a 25-year license for the country's top broadcaster, a survey by a private pollster showed late on Saturday, a day after Congress rejected ABS-CBN Corp's bid to have it renewed.

Critics saw the rejection as part of a political vendetta by President Rodrigo Duterte's allies in Congress after the media conglomerate angered him for its failure to air some of his paid 2016 election campaign commercials. The network has apologized.

A legislative committee overwhelmingly agreed with a working group's assessment that ABS-CBN, which employs 11,000 people and has an audience of tens of millions of Filipinos, was "undeserving of the grant of legislative franchise".

In a July 3-6 nationwide mobile phone survey, private pollster Social Weather Stations (SWS) found that 75% of adult Filipinos had agreed that "Congress should renew the franchise so that ABS-CBN can broadcast its programs again".

Of those surveyed, 10% were undecided while 13% disagreed, SWS said in a statement.

The survey also found 56% agreed that the non-renewal of ABS-CBN's franchise was "a major blow to press freedom", SWS said.

The government "lost a media partner in information dissemination", Duterte's spokesman Harry Roque said in a statement on Sunday when asked for comment on the survey.

However, he reiterated that the granting of the broadcasting franchise remained the exclusive prerogative of Congress.