Cebu Citizens-Press Council

Being accountable comes with being free

CCPC decries “insertion” of media accreditation requirement in Sotto Law amendment

January 20th, 2015 · No Comments

Jan. 20, 2015

Cebu Citizens-Press Council eight years ago initiated the bill seeking to amend the Sotto Law (Republic Act 53, as amended). It helped in the drafting of the bill that Rep. Raul del Mar filed on June 28, 2006 as House Bill 2960, which the congressman from Cebu City has regularly re-filed since then.

The draft in 2006 didn’t include the provision on accrediting journalists, which, to our surprise, is now inserted in HB 362, this year’s version of the amendment.

Cebu journalists through CCPC have vigorously opposed media accreditation since it was first proposed in Sen. Jinggoy Estrada’s “Magna Carta for Journalists” under Senate Bill 380 filed last July 3, 2013. The proposal, CCPC has warned, would make the accreditation body an agency of the government which could interfere with functions of the press.

Accreditation is an internal process better left for media under the democratic and healthy process of self-regulation. “Leave media alone,” Cebu Media Legal Aid (Cemla) said in the position paper of Sept. 9, 2013 that CCPC adopted.

Apparently, the “insertion” of the accreditation requirement is made to ride on a worthy and long-overdue cause, which is to apply the Sotto Law to broadcast, wire service and online journalists who deserve as much protection in guarding confidential sources.

It has been 58 years since the protection was given to print journalists under R.A. of 1946. But should media accept the proposed expansion of the Sotto Law if government meddling into accreditation of journalists would be the bitter and costly trade-off?

Pachico A. Seares
Executive Director

Tags: CCPC Papers and Resolutions

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