Right of Reply Bill Part of Larger Scheme – Media Groups

“The bill restrains the media from doing its work to vigorously fiscalize and to investigate wrongdoings, abuses of public officials,” Malou Mangahas of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) said.

Public Interest Issue

“It’s a public interest issue,” Mangahas said. Press freedom, she said, is a freedom not only for journalists to enjoy but for the public as well.

Pavia called on the people to join media practitioners in this fight. “If the bill is passed, there would be limited space and air time to tell the public what is really happening. This is a fight not only of the messengers,” he said.

If the bill is passed, Espina of NUJP said, they will challenge its constitutionality before the Supreme Court. “The only answer to this is defiance,” he said.

Focap’s Batnag said they will continue to report the truth even it would mean violating a Right of Reply law. “We will do our work as professionals,” she said.

The KBP challenged President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to exercise her veto power if ever the law is passed by both houses of Congress. If not, Santos of CMFR said, journalists and the public must persist in protesting it. “It’s still good to be out there in the streets,” Santos said. (Bulatlat.com)

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