No need to legislate imposition of news blackouts & Anti-Usisero Bill

Philippines Oil Price Protest
LFS members meet Police forces at the US Embassy (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
Whether Media finally agrees or not that it must start to be more professional with its news coverage, imposing a news blackout during crisis situations as proposed in House Bill 2723 is an over-reaction.

It could be abused by the government like trying to cover up excessive use of military and police forces or hide its incompetence in responding to critical situations.

All that is needed to be done to avoid a repeat of the Rizal Park Hostage-taking incident is for the police to be better trained, better equipped and diligently following protocols on one hand, while Media needs to be more sensitive and professional in their coverage of such critical situations on the other.

The resolution of critical situations like a hostage-taking incident with the least number of casualties, injuries and damage to property, which depends on a successful police operation, is more important than the public’s right to know about it. Media may have the important duty of informing the public about events taking place around them, but in critical situations, it should not negatively impact the police’s capability to carry out its duty which is more important.

One cannot put the blame solely on the other, for the public and the world has seen that both the PNP and Media have had lapses that led to the hostage-taking incident ending in a bloodbath.

Also, I agree that there’s no need to approve Sen Bong Revilla’s ‘Anti-Usisero Bill‘ as there are laws that already serve the same purpose. All what the police needs to do is simply enforce it.

Image from League of Filipino Students

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