ABS-CBN News chief: Don’t equate airing of Chinatown News with West PH Sea incursions

ABS-CBN Integrated News and Current Affairs chief Ging Reyes explained their move to partner with a Chinese language newscast owned and produced by a Filipino-Chinese company.

Reyes said the airing of Chinese News TV (later renamed Chinatown News TV) on the ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC) “should not be equated with the intrusions in the West Philippine Sea” and cautioned against racial discrimination.

“I understand the concerns on Chinese incursions in the West Philippines Sea & many other issues related to the country’s relations with China. ABS-CBN News has vigorously covered these issues, in our pursuit of truth and public enlightenment,” Reyes said on Twitter.

“But we resist discrimination against any race or ethnicity…. Chinatown News is produced by fellow Filipinos who belong to the Filipino-Chinese community. They are part of Philippine society. Rather than belittle their attempt to provide a service to their local community, it’s time we considered embracing the diversity of this land we all call home,” she added.

She also assured the public that ANC has editorial control over their content.

CNTV, launched in 2017, began airing on the cable news channel on Monday, April 12. According to its website, “CNTV is the first news program that regularly reports Philippine headlines in Mandarin Chinese.” It also uses English and Filipino as supporting languages.

CNTV is produced by Horizon of the Sun Communications, Incorporated, the same team behind Chinatown TV, which produced the controversial Iisang Dagat (One Sea) video – a song in Mandarin and Filipino that touted the two countries’ partnership as "friendly neighbors across the sea" during the coronavirus pandemic. 

CNTV aims to “promote shared Filipino-Chinese culture” and “spread the One Belt One Road advocacy” of China – a point that was later omitted from CNTV’s website.

CNTV and ANC also later changed all mention of "Chinese News TV" in their platforms to "Chinatown News TV." However, CNTV's website still reflected its original name in its URL.

Chinese News TV had been airing on ANC for two days before changing their name to Chinatown News TV.

Screenshot of ANC video

Filipinos remain skeptical of China despite President Rodrigo Duterte's closer ties to the regional giant, which has continued militarization in the West Philippine Sea. – Rappler.com 

Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation issues, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email camille.elemia@rappler.com