The amendment to the Sotto Law, also known as Press Freedom Law, expanding the protection to journalists, has finally been approved. The law now covers not just print journalists but also practitioners in broadcast, wire service and electronic media.
President Duterte signed Republic Act #1145 last Aug. 30 yet but it was released only Tuesday, Sept. 24. It amends Republic Act #53, the 73-year-old law enacted in 1946.
The Cebu Citizens-Press Council (CCPC), which has helped in the drafting of the House version of the bill (HB# 694), in an en banc meeting last Sept. 19, thanked Rep. Raul V. del Mar as main sponsor who had diligently filed and re-filed the bill in a number of Congresses before it was approved this year.
“The coverage is as wide as it can be, more than most of media expected,” said CCPC executive director Pachico A. Seares.
Under the Sotto Law, as amended, the journalist “cannot be compelled to reveal the source of any news item, report or information appearing or being reported or disseminated… which was related in confidence” to the said journalist. Only the court or the House of Representatives or the Senate or any committee of Congress can compel disclosure if it finds that “such revelation is demanded the security of the State.”