After 12 marathon hearings and a summation hearing, ABS-CBN's fate was finally decided on July 10, 2020. With a majority vote of 70-11 (along with two inhibited and one abstaining), the Committee on Legislative Franchises denied granting the country’s largest media network a franchise renewal.
[related: In Focus: Kapamilyas Fight For ABS-CBN's Franchise Renewal On The Streets]
Each hearing sought to address allegations against ABS-CBN including labor violations, tax fraud, foreign ownership, biased reporting, among others. Months prior, President Rodrigo Duterte repeatedly threatened to block the franchise renewal and “see to it that you’re out."
[related: In Focus: ABS-CBN Newsroom In Emotional Whirlwind Over Franchise Denial]
The decision has been denounced by many. The new franchise proved crucial in allowing the embattled network to resume its radio and broadcast operations, then halted during the #ABSCBNShutdown on May 5. Without a new franchise, its 11,071 employees are at risk of losing their jobs. It is also seen as an attack on press freedom, as well as a loss of information dissemination and source of entertainment amid the pandemic.
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Among the media organizations in the country who’ve extended support for ABS-CBN is its biggest network rival, GMA. News program Saksi, for one, ended its telecast by flashing an image of the ABS-CBN tower as the set faded to black. GMA artists and personalities have likewise taken to their platforms to air their concerns—scroll through our gallery to read their thoughts!
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Photographs taken from the Twitter accounts of Jasmine Curtis-Smith, Lauren Young, Chynna Ortaleza, Jennelyn Mercado, Janine Gutierrez, Atom Araullo