Friday, May 27, 2005

NR0527:SC, MTRCB's memo attacking freedom of the press

Mula sa Tanggapan ni Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran
News Release May 27, 2005
House of Representatives, South Wing Rm 602
931-6615 Ina Alleco R. Silverio,Chief of Staff
Cellphone number 09213907362

Solon denounces Supreme Court, MTRCB for memorandum and decision attacking freedom of the press and the people's right to know

Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran today denounced the recent Movie Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) circular ordering the review and approval of public Affairs Programs, news Documentaries, socio-Political Editorials, and the like. The memorand um circular NO. 07-05 is addressed to television station managers, blocktimers and representatives, informing them of the decision of the Third Division of the Supreme Court dated January 17, 2005, that public affairs programs, news documentaries, socio-political editorials, and all other programs of the same category, are television programs that are subject to MTRCB review and approval in accordance with Section 3 of Presidential Decree 1986. The memo was signed by MTRCB chair Ma. Consoliza P. Laguardia.

Media are being advised to submit materials of their television programs to the Board for review and approval prior to telecast, effective immediately.Failure to comply will result in sanctions as provided for in P.D.1986 and its Implementing Rules and Regulations.

"This is yet another serious attack a gainst civil rights in the country -- the Fourth Estate is being blatantly reined in and controlled by the Macapagal-Arroyo administration. This memorandum and the Supreme Court decision on which it is based have serious implications not only on freedom of the press, but the general right of the Filipino people to be informed," he said. "journalists are being killed left and right, and now the fruit of their efforts are also being subjected to scrutiny and possible censorship."

"It's highly alarming that the Macapagal-Arroyo administration and its allies in the Supreme Court and the other main branches of government are resorting to measures that curtail freedom of the press. Clearly, the controversial, anomalous and even shocking developments in the country's economic and political workings are getting out of hand, and the national government is stepping in to control the flow and dissemination of information and analysis. TV stations, journalists are being censored. There is no doubt about this-this is state censorship, and its not only unconstitutional, it's a sign of burgeoning dictatorial rule," he said.

Beltran said that SC chief Justice Hilario Davide should be made to answer as to why the SC released such as decision. He said that for such a decision to escape the notice of the chief justice was appalling; but if the decision was made and released with the blessing of the chief justice, "that's another thing, and freedom of the press is without a doubt under siege. Before we know it, newspapers will be ordered to submit their stories for review, editing and approval to the office of the press secretary before anything is printed," he said. #


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