Arts & Entertainment

TV station shut down by Duterte strikes deal to return to airwaves

Manila, Aug 11 (EFE).- ABS-CBN announced on Thursday it has agreed to purchase a 35% stake in the TV5 network that allows the media giant to start airing content again.

The media group was the largest in the Philippines until former president Rodrigo Duterete shut the broadcaster down two years ago.

The multimillion-dollar deal that was reached on Wednesday is valued at 2,16 billion pesos ($38.9 million), ABS-CBN said in a statement.

“We are excited with this partnership as we see the opportunity to help TV5 grow and strengthen its free to air network,” Mark Lopez, president of ABS-CBN, said.

In a joint statement, both media networks said the “investment agreement” would allow ABS-CBN to acquire 6,459,393 primary (new) common shares in TV5 representing 34.99 percent of the total voting and outstanding capital stock of TV5 for P2.16 billion.

ABS-CBN, which launched the first television channel in Southeast Asia, lost its license to broadcast on May 4, 2020, after its license expired and congress, which at the time was controlled by Duterte allies, declared war on the media giant after it failed to air some of the former president’s 2016 electoral campaign videos.

The following day the National Telecommunications Commission ordered the closure of the broadcaster which was home to 42 television channels — including Channel 2, the most widely viewed in the Philippines — and 23 radio stations.

The purchase of TV5 shares offers a new lease of life to ABS-CBN, which had taken refuge online since its ban, but also raises questions about how congress, now controlled by allies of the freshly elected president Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., will react.

The father of the current president, dictator Ferdinand Marcos, ordered the station to cease operating when he declared Martial Law in 1972, alleging that it was broadcasting propaganda against the state.

The powerful López family, co-founders of ABS-CBN and staunch opposers of Marcos, did not recover the channel until democracy was restored in the Philippines after the fall of the dictator in 1986. EFE


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