CEBU CITIZENS-PRESS COUNCIL STATEMENT
May 8, 2018
News editors and reporters generally recognize reasonable rules on media coverage to make the flow of information “systematic and orderly.”
We are concerned though about the “codified rules” on media coverage released last April 23 by the House of Representatives. They include the provision that the press card of a House-accredited journalist may be revoked:
 if the card bearer “besmirches the reputation of the House of Representatives, its officials or members”;
 if the card bearer “is found to have made false claims” against the House, its officials or members.
What if the reporter’s news story, based on verifiable facts, hurts the reputation of the House or its member? What if the claim against the House or its member is the subject of a valid complaint and is reported as news but turns out to be false? Would that or any similar work of reporting the news or serving as messenger and carrier provide the reason for revoking a reporter’s accreditation?
Discretion under the House rules is broad and vague and tends to allow abuse by overzealous regulators. It could be used to discourage diligent reporting and intimidate the journalist.
PACHICO A. SEARES