By Genalyn Kabiling
President Duterte has approved the renewal of the franchise granted to three broadcasting networks, including Manila Broadcasting Company (MBC), for another 25 years.
The President signed Republic Act No. 11109 renewing the franchise of MBC, which operates several radio stations such as DZRH, Love Radio, and 96.3 Easy Rock. MBC has been operating since 1939.
Duterte also inked RA 11110 and RA 11111 extending for another 25 years the franchises of Bright Star Broadcasting Network Corporation and Vanguard Radio Network Company Inc.
Bright Star, established in 1992, operates FM radio station 105.9. Vanguard, created in 1951, operates the Big Sound radio stations in several provinces.
Under the laws renewing the franchises, the concerned broadcast networks carry a number of responsibilities to the public.
The networks must provide free of charge adequate public service time to enable the government relay public announcements and warnings in times of emergencies and calamities.
The grantees shall promote public participation, assist in the functions of public information and education, and conform to the ethics of honest enterprise. They must also promote audience sensibility and empowerment including closed captioning and not use its stations for the broadcasting obscene, indecent language, act or scene.
Broadcast facilities must also not be used for the dissemination of false information and wilful misrepresentation to the detriment of public interest and to incite, encourage or assist subversive or treasonable acts.
The law also stated that in times of war, rebellion, disaster or other emergency, the President has a “special right” to temporarily take over and operate the broadcast stations in the interest of public safety, security and public welfare.
The three laws, signed by the President last October 30, take effect after publication in the Official Gazette or a newspaper.