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Bill to Protect Bloggers » Miriam Wants Bloggers Included in Bill Protecting Media

Fellow bloggers this is good news. Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago is insisting that bloggers and online journalists be included in new legislation, the Senate Bill 455 which seeks to amend Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, that aims to protect members of the media. I definitely agree.

Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago is seeking to add bloggers and online journalists to Senate Bill 455, which she is co-sponsoring. According to her;

“There is no reason why only members of the broadcast and print media should be included in the proposed law. Due regard must also be given to practitioners of the digital media.”

We all know that our county has a vigorous press and a freedom of speech. Yet we are rated abysmally by Reporters Without Frontiers and other media organizations, due to a tradition of silencing journalists (including numerous radio commentators) by execution-style killings carried out by small teams on motorcycles.

Our country became infamous late in 2009 with the Ampatuan Massacre, in which 34 journalists were among the 58 killed in a mass political killing in a remote province in Maguindanao.

Santiago also specifically cited the ongoing travails of Julian Assange—a non-traditional journalist who was subjected to harassment and threats after he published hundreds of classified US diplomatic cables on WikiLeaks, and of an online journalist in Russia who was reportedly forced to go into hiding after receiving threats for an article he wrote that was critical of the Russian government. Sen. Santiago said this are examples of someone who should be protected under the law.

"It is clear that practitioners of the digital media are exposed to the same dangers that print and broadcast media practitioners are exposed to, so they should likewise be given protection by the law," she said.

Santiago said the bill should likewise include in its scope more media practitioners, including photojournalists, novelists, screenwriters, playwrights, feature filmmakers, documentary makers, television production, professional photographers, professional videographers, and public relations contractors.

Any thoughts?

Source: GMA News

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