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US ‘concerned’ over ABS CBN shutdown

By Agence France-Presse

The United States on Thursday voiced concern over the Philippine government-ordered shutdown of the country’s top broadcaster ABS-CBN, which has been targeted by President Rodrigo Duterte.

This view shows the ABS-CBN network headquarters in Quezon City in the Metro Manila area on May 5, 2020. (Photo by Maria TAN / AFP / MANILA BULLETIN)

This view shows the ABS-CBN network headquarters in Quezon City in the Metro Manila area on May 5, 2020. (Photo by Maria TAN / AFP / MANILA BULLETIN)

“We are concerned by the situation regarding ABS-CBN,” State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said.

“An independent media plays a critical role in facilitating the open exchange of information and ideas which is vital to free, prosperous and secure democratic societies,” she said.

Ortagus said that free media was especially vital in promoting public health amid the global COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is true for the United States, the Philippines, as well as countries around the world,” she said.

ABS-CBN was forced off the air over the stalled renewal of its operating license, which Duterte had repeatedly pledged to block.

Duterte had regularly assailed the media powerhouse, which he accuses of failing to air his ads during the 2016 presidential election despite accepting payment to do so.

 


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