Lawmaker-brothers Rufus and Maximo Rodriguez filed House Bill 2550, the so-called Magna Carta for Journalists that would require aspiring journalists—in broadcast, print and photography—to pass an accreditation exam.
Media organizations shooed and booed a similar bill filed by Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, citing that journalists “oppose any and all attempt to subject journalism to any form of accreditation or licensing because, it is first and foremost part of the constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom of speech and of expression.”
Besides the professional and ethical standards those who work for various media outfits need to adhere to by reason of their employment, anyone and everyone can and should be able to practice journalism without being discriminated against by virtue of some misguided criteria, they stressed.
Too, they expressed apprehensions that the so-called Magna Carta or Great Charter “will end up emasculating, not strengthening, and certainly not expanding the boundaries of, journalism.”
The Rodriguez brothers’ bill is also illogical, they noted.
“Accreditation exams are commonly understood as mechanisms to determine whether one is qualified to practice a regulated profession, such as medicine, nursing, engineering and the like. In other words, you don’t pass the exam you don’t get your license and the right to practice your profession.
“And yet, HB 2550 says the ‘non-accredited,’ presumably those who either fail to pass or do not take the exam, can still work for media outfits.
“Rather pushing their bill, we suggest that the Rodriguez support instead the passage of the People’s FOI Bill and Laguna Rep. Sol Aragones’ House Bill 2568, which would require government agencies to act promptly on requests for information from media, perhaps even help improve the latter measure by including all requests for information from citizens of the Republic,” they added.