May 31, 2012
DATA PRIVACY ACT WILL NOT STIFLE PRESS FREEDOM - ANGARA
Senator Edgardo J. Angara emphasized that the Data Privacy Act will not be used to stifle press freedom, following reports showing that a clause in said measure will penalize journalists and media professionals involved in breaches of confidentiality.
The Philippine Press Institute has protested that Section 30 of the Data Privacy Act, presently under bicameral review, extends liability to reporters, writers, presidents, publishers, managers and editors-in-chief involved in the unauthorized publishing of sensitive personal information.
"It was not our intention to penalize the media for doing their job of responsible reporting," said Angara, Chair of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology. "Only those whose actions were directly behind the release of private information will be held accountable.
"For example, a private individual was hospitalized and that person's medical records were made public without his consent. In this case, the hospital or the records custodian will be sanctioned, not the journalist who wrote about it.
"The Data Privacy Act will not be used to gag media, and we will rectify this provision during the bicameral hearing," Angara assured.
He emphasized that the main objective of the proposed measure is to promote confidence in the country's booming Information Technology and Business Process Outsourcing (IT-BPO) industry and its growing e-governance initiatives by mandating public and private institutions to safeguard the integrity, security and confidentiality of personal information collected throughout their operations.
The Data Privacy Act provides for the creation of a National Privacy Commission tasked to implement the provisions of the bill and to ensure that regulations in the country adhere to international data privacy standards such as that of the European Union and the APEC.
President Benigno Aquino III certified the Data Privacy Act as a priority measure of the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC).
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