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4 senators back Senate reporters over decorum row

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Senate Session Hall INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – At least four senators stood up on the floor Wednesday to  express  their  support for the Senate media’s concern raised  over a “revocation of accreditation ” threat by  the chamber’s Public Relations  and Information Bureau (PRIB).

It was  Senator  Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, who first stood up in the  plenary to call  the attention of the Senate  on the advisory sent to reporters by the PRIB Tuesday, reminding  that “media  interviews  are not allowed  on the floor when  a plenary session  is in progress.”

Sotto particularly pointed  to the  words used  in the advisory, which said that “similar violation will cause the automatic revocation of reporters’ or their media outfits’ accreditation in the Senate roster.”

“The use of such phrase does not leave  a good mark,”  he  said.

Sotto then suggested a dialogue among the PRIB, Senate Secretariat,  and  representatives from the Senate media.

Senate Majority Leader  Alan Peter  Cayetano  also took the floor and promised to take  the media’s concern “very  seriously.”

“So we will work with the Senate Secretary to answer their concerns,” Cayetano said.

Senator Grace Poe joined her colleagues,  saying that the media should be given access to information and should be allowed to interact with members  of  the  Senate.

“I know that there should be proper decorum but I advocate an open system (to allow) the media to perform their task of delivering timely news to the public,”  Poe said.

“An open system has been the practice since the Philippine Senate reopened in 1988, which is a fitting homage to the basic civil liberties enshrined in the Constitution,”  she said, in  a separate letter to Senate President  Franklin Drilon, a copy of which was also furnished to reporters.

The lapse of some media members when  they interviewed Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr.  while the Senate was in session last Monday (September 16), Poe said,  should not be used as a “blanket authority to cause a chilling effect to the media.”

Senator Loren Legarda also stood up to “concur” with the observation of her colleagues.


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Tags: Media , Nation , News , press freedom , Senate




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