PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law a bill expanding the coverage of exemptions from revealing journalists’ sources by including broadcast and online media.
Signed on August 30, Republic Act (RA) 11458 amends RA 1477, which only exempts “publisher, editor columnist or duly accredited reporter of any newspaper, magazine or periodical of general circulation” from divulging their sources.
The new law, however, now exempts “any publisher, owner, or duly recognized or accredited journalist, writer, reporter, contributor, opinion writer, editor, columnist, manager, media practitioner” from “any print, broadcast, wire service organization, or electronic mass media, including cable television and its variants.”
RA 11458 maintains that any media practitioner from these platforms, without prejudice to their liability under the civil and criminal laws, “cannot be compelled to reveal the source of any news item, report or information appearing or being reported or disseminated.”
It, however, states that journalists cannot exercise such exemption, when “the court of the House of Representatives or the Senate or any committee of Congress finds that such revelation is demanded by the Security of the State.”
“All laws, decrees, executive orders, rules or regulations or parts thereof inconsistent with the provisions of this Act are hereby repealed or modified,” the law said.
The new law, released by the Palace just on Wednesday, will take effects 15 days after its publication in at least two newspapers of national circulation. CATHERINE S. VALENTE