Solon urges House to reconsider rules ‘stifling’ journalists
A lawmaker urged on Sunday the House leadership to “seriously reconsider” the new rules imposed to the media as it would hinder press freedom.
According to the new ground rules, journalists who “besmirch the reputation of the House of Representatives, its officials or members” may lose their opportunity to cover the chamber.
It also limits journalists’ access on news reporting by preventing them to have ambush interviews with the lawmakers and resource persons.
Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate said that these rules would hinder freedom of the press during news coverage.
“These rules can really hinder freedom of the press as well as the right to self-expression,” Zarate said in a statement.
Zarate also said that it has becoming a trend of the current administration to silence the press.
It was recently reported that members of the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP) were barred from covering labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III in Singapore.
“It seems that there is an intensifying trend in the Duterte administration to control, even muzzle the media, especially now that its approval ratings are going down,” Zarate said.
Nevertheless, he remained hopeful for the House leadership to reconsider the new ground rules in order to practice the freedom of speech.
“We hope that the House leadership would reconsider and strike off provisions of the new rules that would stifle not only the media but members of the House of Representatives themselves and the constituents that they represent to voice out their position and sentiments,” Zarate said. /je
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