Thursday, August 22, 2013

Rights or Limitations for Journalists

Senator Jinggoy Estrada filed a bill for the journalist. It is popularly known as Senate Bill 380 (An Act providing for a Magna Carta for Journalists). However, the said bill is considered as unconstitutional because it contradicts the Section 4, Article III of the Philippine Constitution: “NO LAW SHALL BE PASSED ABRIDGING THE FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION, OF SPEECH, AND OF THE PRESS.”
According to PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal), the bill also includes that reporters, editors and photographers must take professional journalism examination. Senator Jinggoy said in his explanatory note that It is necessary for the enactment of a law that will ensure a living wage, an atmosphere conducive to productive journalism work, reiterate value of ethics, provide for development programs that will deepen the practice of their profession, and promote the defense and protection of freedom and human rights of journalists and their organizations. It is also stated in this bill the making of the Philippine Council for Journalist who will conduct “Professional Journalist Examination” and will give accreditation for the journalists. Those who will go against this bill “shall be ground for appropriate sanctions as may be determined by the PCJ after due process.” “Accredited journalist shall be entitled to all benefits and privileges that may be accorded to them by law, by their employers, and by the PCJ” however “they shall enjoy only those benefits and privileges accorded to them by their employers.”
In my opinion based from the above information given by PEP, this bill is not a privilege for the journalist but a limitation. It’s so ironic to file this kind of bill. No wonder Senator Jinggoy received lots of criticisms, it looks like he and his staffs didn't’ scrutinize it well. He said he was hurt by the barrage of criticisms because his purpose is to upgrade the level of media practice in the Philippines. If I am going to analyze his bill, I think it’s not for the betterment of the living of the journalists but for the politician’s sake. They wanted to control the population of the press and to earn profit from qualifying examinations, official accreditation card, required seminars and even the exemption interviews.
My point here is we don’t need to undergo in this process because we have the freedom of expression bill. Citizen doesn't  need a license  to  exercise  the  freedom of  speech  and  the  press  guaranteed  in  the  Constitution.

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