May 19, 2022

Bicol Express News

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Closure of Zagitsit News FM station in Legazpi reeks of “politics”, says owner Alegre

Photo courtesy of Bicol.PH

The closure of the radio station in Legazpi City, Albay reeks of politics, not on legitimate reasons, the manager laments.

On Monday, November 8, the National Telecommunications Commission closed the operation of Zagitsit News FM in Legazpi City.

According to the cease and desist order, the closure is due to expired temporary permit, lack of studio-to-transmitter link, radio station license, and violation of certain conditions of their provisional authority.

But, the management of Zagitsit FM believes the reason is deeper.

According to Jun Alegre, owner and Station Manager of said station, he filed a motion for extension and it was granted.

But, he was surprised that even before the 15-day extension was over, the station was ordered closed Monday.

Alegre believes the closure move was  “politicized”.

Rewinding back, Zagitsit News FM has been operating for about six years, and the station regularly inspected every year.

But, they were not reprimanded for any of this.

NTC Staff serves the closure order to Zagitsit News FM. Photo from FB

According to Alegre, “In the last few months, I was surprised, I inspected Zagitsit FM, we were singled out and I suspected that there was a big man behind it”.

It is said that there are many other radio stations that have violations of their franchise, but Zagitsit station is said to be targeted.

“I hope NTC will see if their regulatory mandate is honest to goodness because there are many stations here whose licenses have expired for 5 years, they cannot fight in the legal battle.”

“There was a politician who told me that the problem of Zagitsit closure is politics. If it can be done on ABS-CBN, what is the reason that it cannot be done on small networks? Today, closure of Zagitsit FM , which station will be closed in the next few days ?”, Alegre pondered.

Alegre will run for provincial Board Member of the second district of Albay in the coming May 2022 elections. and he is not hiding whom he supports.

NTC Bicol said the order to inspect the Zagitsit FM station came from the central office.

According to NTC Bicol OIC Regional Director Samuel Sabile, “We received this order this morning, the respondent is directed to immediately cease from further operating its FM station, DWH1 FM using 100.3 megahertz”.

According to some media practitioners in Albay, this situation is worrying. 

Mar Arguelles, who has been in the media profession for more than three decades, said: “It’s a worrisome message to the media, it’s chilling effect. The opponents of the media are influential, powerful and moneyed individuals or groups. Media should look out and find avenues to preserve the industry because if press freedom is not preserved, it will collapse ”.

With the closure of Zagitsit News FM station, more than 25 employees were affected.

Although their online livestreaming will continue, they know that the audience is limited, and not many have access to this platform.

But they hope that it will only be temporary, and will be settled legally even if there is a political issue involved.