NUJP thumbs down media accreditation bill-A A +A
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
THE National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) on Tuesday expressed its opposition to the proposed "Magna Carta for Journalists" filed in the House of Representatives requiring media practitioners to pass an accreditation exam.
"As we have said before and will continue to say unequivocally, we oppose any and all attempt to subject journalism to any form of accreditation or licensing for the simple reason that, while it is true that journalism is a profession within the media industry, it is first and foremost part of the constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom of speech and of expression," the NUJP said in a statement.
Under House Bill 2550 filed by Representatives Rufus Rodriguez (Cagayan de Oro City) and Maximo Rodriguez, Jr. (Abante Mindanao party-list), journalism and mass communication graduates or anyone who want to join the media industry can only do so if they will pass the accreditation exam.
The bill will create the Professional Journalist Examination and the Philippine Council for Journalists, which will handle the examination for radio, television, print and photography.
The NUJP said the accreditation idea is "superfluous" as those who will not pass and will be classified as "non-accredited journalists" can still join any media outfit.
Under the proposal, journalists who have been in the practice for 10 years already are exempted from the exam.
"This, again, is not only illogical, it is also patently illegal for it infringes on the rights not only of those who have been employed as journalists for less than 10 years by, in effect, downgrading their status, and also on the right of media managements to choose who is or is not qualified for employment," the NUJP said.
The NUJP said the Rodriguez brothers should instead support House Bill 2568 filed by Laguna Representative Sol Aragones, a former broadcast journalist, which seeks to promote freedom of information by ensuring that all requests made by media outfits and journalists are acted upon promptly, within a period of five business days.
"Instead of pushing their bill, we suggest that the Rodriguez support instead the passage of the People’s FOI Bill and Laguna Rep. Sol Aragones’ House Bill 2568, which would require government agencies to act promptly on requests for information from media, perhaps even help improve the latter measure by including all requests for information from citizens of the Republic," the NUJP said.
Aragones' measure also proposed to be known as the "Magna Carta for Journalists Act of 2013" demands a written explanation from the concerned government office to clarify why the request is unfavorably acted upon. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)