Accrediting media-A A +A
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
THERE was this report in Sun.Star Cebu’s “Nation” section that carried the head, “NUJP slams media accreditation bill.”
The first paragraph of the story tells of the fact that some members of the House of Representatives have proposed a so-called “Magna Carta for Journalist” in the Philippines.
The bill supposedly would professionalize the practice of media in the country, and hence would require media practitioners to pass a board examination.
I was taken aback at the temerity of some legislators to believe that they can mesmerize the whole country by honoring media practitioners with a license for passing a board examination, and getting government recognition and permit to practice.
Indeed, if anything, the effort of the legislators is a masterpiece of deception, and as well as presumption that the media practitioners would be proud to enjoy their Constitutional right.
There is soundness in the effort of the National Union of Journalist in the Philippines (NUJP) to openly oppose the proposed bill.
The opposition, to me, is truly appropriate in order to show that we do not deserve to have the rights granted in the law of the land to be tampered by any politician, regardless of how respected he may be in Congress. What worth does a "Magna Carta for Journalist” have if it denies us certain freedoms?
The NUJP said that under House Bill 2550, anyone desiring to be a journalist, such as graduates of mass communication, English majors or anyone who wants to join the media industry, may take the accreditation exam.
The bill creates a Professional Journalist Examination, as well as a Philippine Council for Journalist “that will handle the examinations for radio, television, print, and photography.
But while the proponents may have good intentions, their proposal does not seem quite appropriate. Their goal curtails some of the basic freedoms of a democratic nation.
In the eyes of the NUJP, “the accreditation idea is “superfluous” as those who will not pass and will be classified as non-accredited journalist may still join any media outfit.
However, the bill also has a provision intended, I am sure, for those who have been media practitioners for about ten years already. They may not take the exams anymore.
But just the same, I think it is unlawful to prevent anyone from writing his thoughts.
My point here is that, as a member of the media industry, I think that anyone who dares curtail or suppress our constitutional right to freedom of speech, or freedom of the press, or freedom of assembly must be out of tune with our democratic way of life.
Or they are just out to win attention from colleagues or from the people who could be counted as potential political supporters. Indeed, to be a star in debates and discussion in the media about press freedom deserves notice.
When you are in politics regardless of how you got there, you need political support, and thus some valuable media attention.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 17, 2013.