A Philippine government agency on Tuesday ordered the country’s leading broadcast network, to halt operations after its congressional franchise expired, sparking shock over the loss of a major news provider during the coronavirus pandemic.
The National Telecommunications Commission ordered ABS-CBN Corp. to stop operating after its 25-year congressional franchise ended Monday.
The network’s application for renewal has been pending in Congress, which is controlled by President Rodrigo Duterte’s allies, but hearings have been delayed, in part by a coronavirus lockdown.
ABS-CBN, one of the country’s oldest and most influential networks, continued to broadcast on TV and radio for most of Tuesday but later went off the air.
“Millions of Filipinos will lose their source of news and entertainment … when people need crucial and timely information as the nation deals with the COVID-19 pandemic,” the media giant said in a statement.