No prior restraint on media coverage — Coloma

August 27, 2010 10:58 am 

MANILA, Aug. 26 — Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio “Sonny” Coloma said on Thursday that there is no need for a news blackout or prior media coverage restraint in times of hostage-taking incidents.

"What we need is for media organizations to impose a self-regulation on their news coverage," Secretary Coloma said, adding that the government is optimistic that the guidelines formed after the Ducat hostage drama in 2007 in Manila will be properly observed by the media practitioners on their coverage of crisis situations.

The Palace official said that among the guidelines are the possibility of "no live" coverage, if necessary, preventing media practitioners from talking or negotiating with the hostage-taker.

”Kaya ang amin pong paninidigan ay hindi dapat magkaroon ng prior restraint sa freedom of the press and freedom of expression dahil maliwanag itong itinatadhana ng Saligang Batas. Ang dapat lamang mangyari sana ay iyong media natin ay mag-impose sa kanilang sarili ng self-regulation na ginawa naman nila [Our position is not to impose prior restraint on the freedom of the press and freedom of expression since it is guaranteed under the Constitution. What we want is for media to impose self-regualtion among themselves which they did],” Coloma stressed.

Coloma also clarified that President Benigno S. Aquino III decided to allow the local crisis committee and the ground commander in the hostage-taking incident last Monday in Quirino Grandstand to make the decisions.

He added that the President closely monitored the developments in the hostage-taking and he was being updated by the ground commander, Manila Police District Chief Superintendent Rodolfo Magtibay.

According to Coloma, President Aquino instructed the police to ensure the safety of the hostages and, if possible, resolve the hostage-taking incident in the soonest possible time without bloodshed.

Meanwhile, President Aquino also appealed to media to cooperate with the authorities to form a "win-win" solution and set parameters which the media will follow in covering hostage-taking incidents. (PNA)



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