Senate approves expanded Sotto law
The Senate on Monday approved a measure that will extend the protection of journalists from revealing their confidential sources to those in the broadcast and online media.
Voting 18-0, the Senate approved on third and final reading Senate Bill No. 1255, which amends Republic Act (RA) No. 53 or the Shield Law or Sotto Law.
The law was authored by the late Sen. Vicente Yap Sotto, grandfather of Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III.
The 70-year-old Sotto law exempts only the print media—publisher, editor, columnist and accredited reporter—of any newspaper, magazine or periodical of general circulation from disclosing sources unless it endangered the security of the State.
The approved bill seeks to broaden the media privilege to protect broadcast and online journalists as well as foreign and local wire news services from disclosing their sources, according to Sen. Grace Poe, chair of the Senate committee on public information and mass media and sponsor of the bill that was also filed by Sotto and Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV.
“Under our proposed measure, we shall expand the coverage of RA 53, as amended, to any publisher, owner or duly recognized or accredited journalist, writer, reporter, contributor, opinion writer, editor, manager, producer, news director, web master, cartoonist or media practitioner involved in the writing, editing, production and dissemination of news for mass circulation, of any print, broadcasts, wire service organization, or electronic mass media, including but not limited to the internet and cable TV and its variants,” Poe said.
She said that along with the print media, the broadcast media such as television, radio and the internet were also news providers.
The senator cited a 2012 survey by the TNS Global Market Research that showed that 45 percent of 1,000 respondents from classes A to E connected through the internet while 365 listened to the radio. Twelve percent read newspapers and four percent read magazines.
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