House OKs bill protecting broadcast, online journalists

MANILA, Philippine – The House approved on third and final reading a bill that seeks to include legitimate online and broadcast journalists among the media practitioners who cannot be forced to reveal their news sources.

Lawmakers gave their to nod House Bill (HB) Number 684 on Monday evening, May 29, with a vote of 220-0-0.

The House measure was co-authored by Cebu City 1st District Representative Raul del Mar, Aangat Tayo Representative Harlin Neil Abayon III, and ACT Teachers Representative Antonio Tinio. 

HB 684 aims to amend the 70-year old Republic Act Number 53, known as the Shield Law or the Sotto Law of the late senator Vicente Yap Sotto. 

RA 53 only protects print journalists, exempting publishers, editors, columnists, or duly accredited reporters of any newspaper, magazine, or periodical of general circulation from revealing their sources, unless the court, Congress, or any of the latter’s committees find such a revelation demanded by the security of the state. 

If passed into law, HB 684 would expand such protection to television, radio, online, and wire service journalists.

"The proposed amendment will not only strengthen confidence in these other journalists but will also recognize the important role that they, together with print practioners play in the building of community and nation," Del Mar said in his explanatory note of the bill.

The Senate approved its own version of the measure on May 15. This means the measure will soon be sent to the bicameral conference committee before being transmitted to the Office of the President for final approval. – Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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