Senator to SC: Relax rules on live coverage of Maguindanao massacre trial
MANILA, Philippines—Sen. Ralph Recto has joined calls for the Supreme Court to relax its rules on the live coverage of the Maguindanao massacre trial, and allow TV networks to air commercials.
Recto said that the high court’s ban on commercial breaks during the live trial would infringe on the TV networks’ right to run advertisements, which he said has always been the industry’s “bread and butter.’’
“The TV networks are already doing invaluable public service by beaming the trial to millions of households. The least that they could expect as patriotic dividend is to permit them to do some business while helping the general public to get some sense of what’s happening inside the courtroom,’’ he said.
After allowing live coverage of the trial, the high court issued guidelines, including “full and uninterrupted’’ broadcast of the proceedings, no commercial breaks, no live commentary inside the courtroom.
Recto, chair of the ways and means committee, also took issue with the guideline barring live commentary inside the courtroom.
Absent running commentaries from experts or studio guests to make “court fireworks’’ understandable to the layman, “the trial coverage would be like watching a telenovela in Korean subtitles,’’ he said.
“It’s unimplementable. It just can’t be done,’’ he said.
SC spokesperson Midas Marquez said news organizations could still appeal for a revision of the guidelines, but said the ban on airing other news breaks and commercial breaks during the live telecast of the trial would stay for now.
Sen. Francis Pangilinan, who had filed a resolution calling for a live telecast of the trial, earlier lauded the SC ruling.
“We believe that having live coverage would help in the process of speedy dispensation of justice as the whole world will be watching,’’ he said. “Such transparency will help uphold the reputation of our courts and will eliminate doubts in the minds of our countrymen.’’
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