SMNI suspension ‘necessary step’ in addressing violations — Brosas | Inquirer News
TV network accused of spreading fake news

SMNI suspension ‘necessary step’ in addressing violations — Brosas

NTC suspends SMNI operations for 30 days


The 30-day suspension slapped on Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI) is a “necessary step” in holding it accountable for its alleged franchise violations and spread of fake news, according to lawmakers.

Gabriela Women’s Rep. Arlene Brosas said the Makabayan bloc is pressing for a “thorough investigation” of the media entity owned by televangelist and alleged sex trafficker Apollo Quiboloy and for the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to “enforce sanctions as necessary.”


The House assistant minority leader said the NTC’s suspension of SMNI — prodded by House Resolution No. 189 — “appears to be a response aimed at addressing its numerous past violations.”


She added that the suspension “further underscores the need to address the spread of disinformation and threats through various media platforms.”

Brosas claimed that the SMNI and the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict “have been working hand-in-hand in spreading fake news and disinformation, targeting activists and progressive organizations.”

She was referring to complaints lodged against Lorraine Badoy and Jeffrey Celiz, hosts of SMNI’s “Laban Kasama ang Bayan” over their Red-tagging of activists and even journalists.

“The relentless Red-tagging and dissemination of disinformation have serious consequences on the safety and security of the Filipino people, and those responsible must be held accountable,” Brosas said.

ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro added that the SMNI issue “is shaping out not to be a press freedom issue as its hosts and ‘talents’ want to project.”

Castro said that SMNI’s case is unlike ABS-CBN’s, which “the Duterte family intentionally shut down for its criticisms against them.”


Sen. Robin Padilla, for his part, on Friday moved to investigate the decision of the NTC to suspend the operations of SMNI, saying it violated the right to due process of Quiboloy’s media company.

“The baseless issuance of a 30-day suspension order is a transgression of SMNI’s right to due process, which will result in serious and irreparable damage to it and its employees no less,” Padilla said in a statement.

The chair of the Senate public information and mass media committee pointed out that the Supreme Court had previously declared that “basic and fundamental procedural principles” should be always observed, even in administrative proceedings.

While the NTC was authorized to suspend a broadcast network’s operations for violating its regulations, he said such action should be made “to avoid serious and irreparable damage or inconvenience to the public or to private interests.”

Padilla, who is not a lawyer, said he would file a resolution seeking a legislative inquiry into the NTC’s suspension order, which was based on a resolution passed by the House of Representatives.

“The NTC, in its show cause and suspension order, failed to indicate the need to suspend the operations of the SMNI, much more express how this is necessary to avoid serious and irreparable damage or inconvenience to the public or to private interests,” he said.

But for former Sen. Leila de Lima, the government’s actions against SMNI should not be misconstrued as “prior restraint” since these were made in relation to “past, not future, speech” made by its program hosts and anchors.

She was referring to the alleged death threats that former President Rodrigo Duterte issued against Castro and the supposed false claim that SMNI anticommunist host Celiz made about Speaker Martin Romualdez’s travel expenses.

Besides, she said, Quiboloy’s TV company was “basically a fake news organization masquerading as a legitimate broadcast media entity.”

“SMNI cannot be expected to practice broadcast and journalistic ethical standards simply because SMNI media personalities are not even considered journalists or broadcasters by mainstream media,” De Lima said on X (formerly Twitter).

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READ: House probe of SMNI ‘not a press freedom issue,’ says UP prof

TAGS: Apollo Quiboloy, Brosas, franchise, SMNI, violation

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