Press Release
November 9, 2016

Transcript of Sen. Grace Poe's Opening Statement
Public Hearing of the Committee on Public Information and Mass Media

The committee's main concern in today's hearing are Senate Bill No. 6 filed by Sen. Vicente "Tito" Sotto III and Senate Bill No. 486 filed by Sen. Antonio "Sonny" Trillanes IV.

Both seek to amend Republic Act No. 53, as amended by RA No. 1477, Otherwise Known As "An Act to Exempt the Publisher, Editor or Reporter of Any Publication from Revealing the Source of Published News or Information Obtained in Confidence".

Our counterparts in the House of Representatives have already approved the proposals to amend R.A. 53, to include as exemption journalists in broadcast, online, and wire agencies, kasi bago po ito at sobrag tagal na ng batas na ito, from revealing sources of information obtained in confidence.

Amendments to RA 53, popularly known as the "Shield Law" or the "Sotto Law" were proposed since the 13th Congress. RA 53 was first amended in 1956 by Sen. Vicente Sotto, who sought to limit the non-disclosure of sources to only when the security of the State will be compromised. During this time, the practice of journalism was mainly confined to print media. Of course we've come a long way since then, it's high time that we make these relevant changes now.

The current proposals seek to expand the coverage of those protected by the current law. These bills acknowledge that that journalism has now taken on a multi-media character. Thus, these seek to protect broadcast, radio, and online journalists from divulging their sources, except for certain instances.

Having said this, we shall now commence our public hearing.

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