MANILA — Journalists assigned in the Supreme Court expressed disagreement on the policy of the court’s public information office which bans live coverage of the court’s media briefings.
Several associations of reporters in the justice beat criticized the policy in separate statements saying that Supreme Court (SC) decisions are of utmost importance to the public and must therefore be aired.
“Yes, media may be banned during closed-door deliberation of cases. But once a decision is reached and promulgated, there is no reason to ban live television and radio coverage during the announcement of the decision,” said Manila Bulletin‘s Reynaldo Panaligan, founding member of the Justice and Court Reporters Association (JUCRA).
“The SC is the last bulwark of justice. Its orders, resolutions, and decisions are of utmost importance to people, particularly those in the provinces, who seek justice and protection,” Panaligan added.
Justice Reporters Organization (JUROR) also criticized the policy with its president Teresa Tavares expressing “disgust and disappointment on the 360 degrees turnaround” of the SC PIO on live coverages.
She insisted that the “fastest way” to inform the public about news events is to air live the press conferences.
Panaligan also agreed to this saying that, “SC’s orders, resolutions, and decisions should be communicated immediately to them, and the fastest way to deliver the news is through the media.”
He also added that SC’s website is sometimes unreliable stressing the need for live coverage.
“Even if one has, postings in the SC website are always delayed,” he said.
Though the journalists claimed they were only informed of the policy last Tuesday, SC Public Information Office (PIO) under Theodore Te, who is also the court’s spokesperson, said that the policy has been there since his assumption of office in 2013.
“The SC should be the example of transparency. It should not only, as it does, uphold press freedom in its decisions. It should practice it,” Panaligan said.
With reports from GMA News