No SMNI-China Global TV partnership yet, says Sonshine Media counsel
MANILA, Philippines — Media company Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI) has yet to finalize its partnership agreement with China Global Television Network (CTGN).
CTGN is an English-language channel run by the central propaganda department of Chinese Communist Party.
The clarification was made during the House committee hearing on legislative franchises by SMNI legal counsel Mark Tolentino.
“Wala pa pong formal written agreement between SMNI and CTGN,” Tolentino told lawmakers.
(There is no formal written agreement yet between SMNI and CTGN.)
“They last met in July 2023. We are still finalizing the negotiations […],” he said.
“Assuming na may violations ng law, we will not sign with CTGN. We will follow the constitution with respect to this agreement,” he added.
Tolentino also said both parties have only agreed verbally, but they have yet to set a date for a meeting to formalize the partnership.
The lawyer was responding to the concern expressed by Kabataan Party-list Representative Raoul Manuel.
Manuel claimed the deal may supposedly worry fisherfolks victimized by the recent aggressive actions launched by China against Philippine vessels in West Philippine Sea.
Citing a post on X (formerly Twitter), Manuel recalled SMNI announced its deal with CGTN on July 18 this year.
According to the post, the agreement seeks to “enhance the exchange of news and promote a deeper understanding of current affairs” for both companies.
These goals would supposedly enable the entities to “deliver comprehensive and reliable news coverage to their respective audiences.”
On December 7, a bill seeking to revoke SMNI’s franchise was filed before the chamber.
The probe on the company comes, after one of its hosts, Jeffrey Celiz, publicized false claims that Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez had spent P1.8 billion on traveling expenses in one year.
House members and their staff spent over P39 million for their trips this year, according to House Secretary General Reginald Velasco.