WHETHER Malacañang has the legal right to lock out Rappler news reporter Pia Ranada and CEO Maria Ressa from Malacañang is obscured by the ugly light it casts on a government committed to openness and transparency. Besides, what can it hide from other media that it can by excluding Rappler?
No other president, Palace watchers say, has slammed its door on a news reporter since the Marcos authoritarian regime.
An individual reporter may be shut out from covering a public official but journalist’s news organization may send a replacement. The Cebu City mayor once banned a news reporter from City Hall, but another journalist from his outlet took his place. In another occasion, he banned the reporter but allowed his tape recorder to get into the press-con.
As to the charge of violation of corporate law against Rappler, it shouldn't affect the news media's right of access to public information, which is guaranteed by a law higher than the SEC statute. Besides, the decision has not yet become final and is still pending in the appellate court.
Pachico A. Seares
Cebu Citizens-Press Council [CCPC]