AMIDST the recent killings and harassment of media personalities, Senator Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada is pushing for the creation of a council to be in charge of accrediting journalists.
Senate bill 380, or the Magna Carta for Journalists, was filed to gather all legitimate media organizations into one body—the Philippine Council for Journalists (PCJ)—that will be responsible in creating a database or directory of accredited journalists from both print and broadcast media.
Under the proposed legislation, journalists will be classified into two—accredited journalists, or those who have passed the Professional Journalist Examination to be given by the PCJ, and non-accredited journalists, those who failed the examination but are still allowed to exercise their duties. However, only accredited journalists shall be entitled to all benefits and privileges that may be accorded to them by the law, their employers, and by the PCJ.
Journalists who have been in the practice for at least ten years are exempted from the PCJ examination, but would still undergo an interview by the council before they could be accredited.
The bill also provides security to accredited journalists, particularly those accused of any offense related to the practice. Likewise, warrants of arrest issued against any accredited journalist must be coordinated with the PCJ.
The council will also have the right to be informed of investigations on any reported abduction, harassment, and killing of a journalist.
Media organizations included in the council are the National Press Club of the Philippines (NPC), Philippine Press Institute (PPI), Kapisanan ng mga Broadkaster ng Pili–pinas (KBP), Press Photographers of the Philippines (PPP), Manila Overseas Press Club (MOPC), National Union of Journalist of the Philippines (NUJP), Publishers Association of the Philippines, Inc. (PAPI), and the Federation of Provincial Press Club (FPPC).