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Pacific Media Watch

Host Oscar Perress talked to contributing editor of Pacific Media Watch Sri Krishnamurthi today about Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s government rejecting a licence for the country’s biggest radio and TV network ABS-CBN.

Its 25-year-old franchise expired in May but the majority of legislators refused to renew in a threat to the post-Marcos democratic constitution.

This was the lead issue on the Pacific Media Centre’s Southern Cross segment of Radio 95bFM’s The Wire.

LISTEN: PMC Southern Cross podcasts

“The parliamentarians who rejected this request for a new franchise will go down in history as legislators who preferred to support the ruling caste’s personal interests instead of defending the spirit of the 1987 constitution,” said Daniel Bastard, head of RSF Asia-Pacific news desk.

The vote count was overwhelmingly 70-11 against awarding the new franchise.

Southern Cross then discussed a comment piece from Benny Wenda, chair of the United Liberation Movement of West Papua.

He was adamant in his commentary article that when the 2001 special autonomy statute expires this year that it was time for the people of West Papua to reject Indonesian-controlled “autonomy” and the only solution was an independence referendum.

“There is only one just, democratic and feasible solution for West Papua: our right to self-determination, exercised through a referendum on independence,” Wenda claimed.

And once again the Philippines was making headlines for all the wrong reasons.

This time it was the #HoldTheLine support for the brave Maria Ressa who is being backed by 60 freedom groups, including the Pacific Media Centre.

At the weekend the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), the International Centre for Journalists (ICFJ), and Reporters Without Borders (RSF) announced the launch of the #HoldTheLine campaign in support of journalist Ressa and independent media under attack in the Philippines.

Acting in coordination with Ressa and her legal team, representatives from the three groups have formed the steering committee and are working alongside dozens of partners on the global campaign and reporting initiatives.

They hope to drup up 30,000 signatures.

Rappler’s chief executive Maria Ressa on June 20 was, alongside her colleague Reynaldo Santos Jr, convicted of “cyber-libel” – a criminal charge for which they could face six years in prison.

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