Senate President: ‘Sotto law’ is proof gov’t gives protection to journalists
MANILA, Philippines — The enactment of the Sotto law was “proof that this government will never waver from its responsibility to protect journalists from legal and security threats.”
Thus said Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, after President Rodrigo Duterte signed Republic Act No. 114581 that would allow not only journalists in print media but also in broadcast and online media to protect their sources.
“I am grateful to President Duterte for recognizing the importance of this measure. I have always been, and will always be, a strong advocate of the freedom of information and an avid guardian of the rights that our journalists justly deserve,” Sotto said in a statement on Wednesday.
“The Philippine media will always thrive in the freedoms that our forefathers have sought and successfully won to ensure democracy in our country,” he added.
Sotto said the Constitution and existing laws also ensure that “the right of the public to fair, accurate and reliable information will never be trampled upon, and that constitutional privileges enjoyed by members of the media industry will always be recognized and respected.”
The new law, meanwhile, expands the coverage of exemptions from revealing the source of published news or information obtained in confidence by including journalists from broadcast and online news agencies.
The pertinent section of the law provides that: “Without prejudice to his liability under the civil and criminal laws, any publisher, owner, or duly recognized or accredited journalist, writer, reporter, contributor, opinion writer, editor, columnist, manager, media practitioner involved in the writing, editing, production and dissemination of news for mass circulation, of any print, broadcast, wire service organization or electronic mass media, including cable TV and its variants” cannot be compelled to reveal their sources.
They may only reveal their sources if “the court or the House of Representatives or the Senate or any committee of Congress finds that such revelation is demanded by the security of the state.” /jpv
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.