What is the so-called “Must-Carry Rule”?
The “Must Carry Rule” favors both broadcasting organizations and the public. It prevents cable companies from excluding broadcasting organization especially in those places not reached by signal. Also, the rule prevents cable television companies from depriving viewers in far-flung areas the enjoyment of programs available to city viewers. This mandatory coverage provision under Section 6.2 of said Memorandum Circular, requires all cable television system operators, operating in a community within the Grade “A” or “B” contours to “must carry” the television signals of the authorized television broadcast stations, x x x as the circular was issued to give consumers and the public a wider access to more sources of news, information, entertainment and other programs/contents. The carriage of ABS-CBN’s signals by virtue of the must-carry rule in Memorandum Circular No. 04-08-88 is under the direction and control of the government though the NTC which is vested with exclusive jurisdiction to supervise, regulate and control telecommunications and broadcast services/facilities in the Philippines. The imposition of the must-carry rule is within the NTC’s power to promulgate rules and regulations, as public safety and interest may require, to encourage a larger and more effective use of communications, radio and television broadcasting facilities, and to maintain effective competition among private entities in these activities whenever the Commission finds it reasonably feasible. (ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation vs. Philippine Multi-Media System, Inc., G.R. Nos. 175769-70, January 19, 2009 [Ynares-Santiago, J.]).