Law on Mass Media 3rd Exercise, Deadline Feb20

Law on Mass Media Third Exercise, due only  after the discussion on the topics: 1.What are public records, 2. Right of Access to Information on matters of Public Concern or Right to Freedom of Information, 3.Right not to be forced to disclose the source (Deadline Feb. 20, 2019 at 5pm, class members may post in advance) as follows: 1.Any news report of the period August 2018 to the present of an event (domestic  or worldwide)  that illustrates Number 2 abovestated (do not repeat materials that have been posted on this site before — those who do will get zero without prejudice to any other appropriate actions, (for 10pts), and, optionally, as a bonus for another 10 pts: 2. Any news report of an event for the same period that illustrates Number 3 abovestated with same instructions (those who are posting a bonus –for ease of reviewing– should state “Bonus” at the heading of their bonus post)      Advance non-commercualized Happy Valentines!

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16 comments

  1. DND has another explanation for Trillanes’ missing amnesty papers – September 2018 (Rappler)
    https://www.rappler.com/nation/211212-dnd-another-explanation-trillanes-missing-amnesty-papers

    This article reports how the Department of Defense was unable to produce Antonio Trillanes’ amnesty papers, upon the revocation of this by the president. The inability of the DND to produce these papers was used as a basis for the revocation of Trillanes’ amnesty.

    This particular case was a matter of public concern and yet the documents that would complete the case were being withheld, possibly to protect certain interests.

    This is a violation of Executive Order No. 02, Operationalizing in the Executive Branch the People’s Constitutional Right to Information and the State Policies to Full Public Disclosure and Transparency in the Public Service and Providing Guidelines Therefor. Here, it states that, “the Constitution guarantees the right of the people to information on matters of public concern” and that it recognizes the “fundamental role of free and open exchange” that is meant to enhance transparency and accountability among government officials.

  2. DND has another explanation for Trillanes’ missing amnesty papers – September 5, 2018 (Rappler)
    https://www.rappler.com/nation/211212-dnd-another-explanation-trillanes-missing-amnesty-papers

    This article reports how the Department of Defense was unable to produce Antonio Trillanes’ amnesty papers, upon the revocation of this by the president. The inability of the DND to produce these papers was used as a basis for the revocation of Trillanes’ amnesty.

    This particular case was a matter of public concern and yet the documents that would complete the case were being withheld, possibly to protect certain interests.

    This is a violation of Executive Order No. 02, Operationalizing in the Executive Branch the People’s Constitutional Right to Information and the State Policies to Full Public Disclosure and Transparency in the Public Service and Providing Guidelines Therefor. Here, it states that, “the Constitution guarantees the right of the people to information on matters of public concern” and that it recognizes the “fundamental role of free and open exchange” that is meant to enhance transparency and accountability among government officials.

  3. Gatchalian: House SALN rules go against transparency (Philippine Daily Inquirer, February 05, 2019)

    https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1081556/gatchalian-house-saln-rules-go-against-transparency

    The news report compasses around Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian’s comments on the House’s new proposed rules regarding the release of the House members’ statement of assets, liabilities, and net worth (SALN) which involves raising the acquisition fee of the stated document to P300.00 per member. SALNs are accountability documents that public officials and/or servants are required of sharing with the masses as such documents are entitled to the public.

    The act of raising the fee limits those who can access SALNs to those who have the money to purchase them. Knowing that there are 303 House members, it is easy to figure that most taxpayers and small press or media cannot afford the fee for the assurance that their taxes are not corrupted and are put into economic and/or the country’s general development. Given this situation, the issue reported on the article violates Section 3 of Executive Order No. 2, s. 2016 which states that: “Every Filipino shall have access to information, official records, public records and to documents and paper pertaining to official acts, transactions or decisions, as well as to government research data used as basis for policy development.”

  4. Bonus:

    Nigerian journalist jailed for refusing to reveal source (Committee to Protect Journalists, August 16, 2018)

    https://cpj.org/2018/08/nigerian-journalist-jailed-for-refusing-to-reveal-.php

    The article talks about Samuel Ogundipe, a Premium Times Online reporter, getting detained by the Nigerian Police for publishing an article involving the inspector general of the police and pressuring Ogundipe to reveal his sources for the article. Ogundipe’s published piece talks about a report sent from Inspector General of Police Ibrahim Kpotun Idris to Nigerian Vice President Yemi Osinbajo regarding the security service’s involvement in the blocking of access to the Nigerian National Assembly that occurred on August 7, 2018.

  5. Article: Panelo says ‘simple’ to get drug war reports via FOI. It’s not. (August 2018)

    Retrieved from: https://www.rappler.com/nation/210747-panelo-answer-obtaining-war-on-drug-reports-through-foi

    Back in 2018, while speaking in an IBP forum, Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said that obtaining data regarding the Drug War is ‘simple’, as anyone can ask the PNP for the police reports due to the Freedom of Information Law. However, the process of requesting the said information is not as easy as Panelo said. Even the Supreme Court, in their case deciding whether the Drug War is constitutional or not, had to compel the government to produce the reports. The delay in which the reports were produced then got people into questioning whether these reports contained, and if they actually existed at all. It took 5 months for the PNP to produce the reports — incomplete ones at that. Even the IBP had difficulty in obtaining these reports when they filed a case against the policemen who shot Kian delos Santos.

    The government’s cited possible threats to national security as the reason for the restricted access to these reports. All requests must be approved by the president before they can be released to the person requesting the documents. While data on the War on Drugs may be covered by the FOI law, the law is clear about its limitations: the law does not compel the government to produce the documents its release will threaten national security. Whether the contents of the police reports endanger national security remains to be seen, however, as one has to go through a lot of hoops before they can take a peek at what the official report says.

  6. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/brett-kavanaugh-foia-blumenthal_us_5b6b061ae4b0fd5c73dfbd06

    Democrats File Freedom Of Information Act Requests For Brett Kavanaugh Documents
    August 8, 2018

    The Huffington Post article reported that Senate Democrats in the United States filed Freedom of Information requests regarding documents of Brett Kavanaugh from when he was staff secretary for the Bush administration. They requested for these documents because he was at the time a Supreme Court nominee. Their requests of such documents had been previously denied, but Senator Richard Blumenthal said that the filing of requests were “necessary to fully review Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination.”

    This has to do with the right to access to information, in particular the right to freedom of information because the records of Kavanaugh were seen as matters of public concern, especially as he was possibly going to get confirmed as a member of the Supreme Court. These are public records because the requested documents were related to official acts of Kavanaugh, a public official. The Democrats wanted to review these documents as they may be significant (in revealing about Kavanaugh’s background) and it is within their rights to do so.

  7. [Bonus[

    https://www.theguardian.com/media/2018/oct/25/counter-terror-bill-is-a-threat-to-press-freedom-say-campaigners

    Counter-terror bill is a threat to press freedom, say campaigners
    October 25, 2018

    A bill aiming to counter terrorism in the UK could possibly hamper press freedom, according to an article from The Guardian. Particularly troubling is the ability of “border guards… to stop, search and detain” people under suspicion. Specifically, it was mentioned that journalists could simply be stopped and questioned, and that “it would be an offence for the journalist not to answer questions or hand over materials, with no protection for confidential sources.”

    Journalists should not be compelled to identify the source of their stories because the sources trusted the journalists with their story and to reveal their identity would be a breach to this agreement and endanger their lives as well. This goes against a journalist’s right not to disclose the source of their story, especially if the sources are confidential sources where exposing them could place them at risk.

  8. https://chicago.suntimes.com/news/illinois-foia-freedom-of-information-act-citizens-illinois-open-records-problems/

    People count on the Freedom of Information Act but keep getting shut out – October 11, 2018

    The process of government transparency in Illinois is still seen as inconsistently long and painful by some of those who live in Illinois. One example is Larry Young, a father who requested police records regarding the death of her daughter, Molly, who was shot to death in her ex-boyfriend’s apartment.

    Young is still fighting law enforcement agencies for those aforementioned records under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act. When the legislators of Illinois gave the authority to interpret the FOIA to the attorney general’s office, the office’s public access counselor, known as the PAC, has been in charge of listening to the different demands to information coming from journalists, businesses, and individuals such as Young.

    But according to a ProPublica Illinois analysis, the government bodies still routinely ignore/misinterpret the FOIA, even though the FOIA states that “all persons are entitled to full and complete information regarding the affairs of government.” As said in the article, “Under the said act, citizens are allowed to request and obtain copies of records generated by local and state government agencies.”

    Theoretically, the Right to the Freedom of Information would make the process of government transparency easier, but as Mr. Young, Illinois-based journalists, and other citizens encountered, information still isn’t as accessible to the public as it should be.

  9. BONUS

    https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/northern-ireland-journalist-does-not-have-to-reveal-sources-crown-court-judge-rules-37790644.html

    Northern Ireland journalist does not have to reveal sources, Crown Court judge rules – February 7, 2019

    In Northen Ireland, a journalist has been told that she is not required to disclose her source. In a judgment from the Belfast Crown Court, Mr. Justice Colton dismissed the bid for Ms. Paula Mackin, an investigative journalist from the Sunday World, to reveal her sources to Alex McCrory, a member of an accused trio in an ongoing criminal trial.

    The editor of the Northern Ireland Sunday World, Richard Sullivan declared it as an important win for investigative reporting. The accused application for the revelation of the information arose from a series of criminal investigative reports published by the Sunday World.

    Mackin chose to protect her confidential sources, knowing the risk that comes with giving information as delicate as the ones pertaining to crime.

  10. Link: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/whistleblower-sanctions-no-disclosure-1.5020720

    Sanctions against misbehaving bureaucrats rarely disclosed — Feb 16, 2019

    It is reported that in 81 cases of wrongdoing in the Canadian federal bureaucrats since 2012, only 36 cases were duly written about. Even less of those detail what the corresponding sanctions were for the offending public servant with only 11 detailed summaries. In one case, a high-ranking official used their power to have their relatives in office. Canadian Public Sector Integrity Commissioner Joe Friday said that the “General public has the right to access more information.”

    I agree with the Canadian Public Sector Integrity Commissioner Friday in his insistence of the right of the public to have access about all the cases of misconducted reported.

  11. Court orders PCGG probe into sale of sequestered Surigao property – January 19, 2019

    https://www.rappler.com/nation/221089-sandiganbayan-orders-pcgg-probe-alleged-sale-sequestered-surigao-del-sur-assets

    News of local politicians in Surigao del Norte selling government-owned land has caused the Sandiganbayan to push the Presidential Commission on Good Governance to investigate the issue, especially because the property in question is signed under Lianga Bay Logging Company, Incorporated, one of many defendants connected to the case of Marcos’ ill-gotten wealth. Under the case, the LBLCI and other companies are accused of obtaining millions in loans from the GSIS and the Development Bank of the Philippines during the period 1973-1981.

    Under Article III, Section 7, the Right to Access of Information and public records, the news piece demonstrates the capabilities of investigation and access to information in exposing the graft and corruption of public officials. The party accusing LBLCI, the Diatagon Labor Federation, was reported to have been able to use public records including receipts, agreements, and environmental issuances to prove the division and sale of the property in question. Such information, since the funds stem from a public fund as significant as the Government Service Insurance System, directly falls under Documents affecting Public Funds and Documents affecting Property, documents subject to the Constitutional provision. Further investigation into the corporate gen info sheets of LBLCI may strengthen their link to other parties under the same Marcos case, and can solidify the need for judgment and repayment in the case of the corrupt officials.

  12. BONUS

    DICT inks deal with Aboitiz for telecommunications tower construction — February 7, 2019

    The Department of Information and Communications Technology signed a “Memorandum of Understanding” (MOU) with Aboitiz InfraCapital to be a possible candidate to developing the much-talked about the country’s third telecommunications provider.

    Elise Rio mentioned the general contents of the document saying, “This MOU simply states (that the) DICT recognizes Aboitiz as capable, and that it has the financial capability to invest in towers.”

    Aboitiz has stated it is seeking to build, operate, and maintain infrastructure for future telecommunication companies.

    Alongside Aboitiz, other companies, including foreign companies have signed a similar MOU with the DICT for construction and maintenance.

    If the budget for building the telecommunication infrastructure is from public funds, the public has the right to know about the deals including why and how much is being allocated. In addition, there must have been plenty of investors offering to be part of this national deal. The DICT should provide evidence that the selection of companies was an honest one.

  13. Police force journalists to disclose sources — February 12, 2019 (Andrew Bagala)

    Link: https://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/Police-force-journalists-disclose-sources/688334-4977650-tcr95iz/index.html

    In Kampala, the capital of Uganda, police are forcing a group of editors of publications to reveal their resources on the alleged bank accounts and buildings of the Uganda deputy governor. In Uganda there is the Section 38 of the Press and Journalist Act one of the investigated people, which Mr. Wamala, refers to saying, “We can’t be compelled to disclose our sources except with the consent of court or by the source.”

    The editor’s phones were confiscated, and will continue to be questioned for the next few days.

    The police is accusing the editors for defamation of the Bank of Uganda Officials.

    The confiscation of phones is possibly a violation of the right of the editors not to to disclose their sources. This right not to disclose sources is still threatened in other countries.

  14. BONUS:

    California blogger gets to protect sources – February 12, 2019

    https://www.cincinnati.com/story/money/2019/02/12/california-blogger-gets-protect-sources/2776795002/

    Blogger and animal rights advocate Nathan Winograd was judged to be entitled to invoke California state’s shield law which protects “publisher, editor, reporter, or other person connected with or employed upon a newspaper, magazine, or other periodical publication…” in a case against People for The Ethical Treatment of Animals. After demanding the identity of Winograd’s source for a 2014 to 2015 case, in which PETA mistakenly trapped and euthanised a dog in a housing development, the California court judged that Winograd’s irregular, periodic blogging and news gathering could be considered a periodical publication that gave him the shield law’s protection.

    This article in particular both demonstrates the necessity of the Shield Law for members of the media and also sparks debate on how the law should be formed or implemented in a modern age full of social media and alternate forms of publication. Winograd’s refusal to reveal his source means he effectively protected the anonymous party from any threats or penalties from PETA, proving the shield law’s safeguarding capabilities, most especially since the court judged it to be in his favour in the case. However, the same law has to be formally reformed to consider the modern era because only the specific court’s ruling was able to deem Winograd as, loosely, a media practitioner. Without any contracts or official associations to big publication or broadcast companies, lone bloggers who run their own investigative information-gathering jobs with the intent to publish their findings have to be careful, as their sources may not be officially protected by the shield law given their loose status as members of social media. Furthermore, there is also the risk of “fake” bloggers being allowed to publish whatever content or accusations they want, only to be allowed to not disclose their sources due to owning a blog of their own.

  15. Poe: Stricter rules on accessing SALN a setback in transparency

    https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1081697/poe-stricter-rules-on-accessing-saln-a-setback-in-transparency#ixzz5fnkR80QD 

    On February 5, a news article was released regarding Poe’s comments on the House of Representative’s adoption of a resolution to require majority approval at the plenary before disclosing any SALN of its members. Aside from this, the House established a committee review and compliance that will grant or block requests for SALN copies.

    According to Poe who is a supporter of the Freedom of Information bill, the moves proposed by the House is definitely a setback in delivering transparency in the government. Poe also mentions it might be a violation of the Constitution as per Article III Sec 17, which states that government officials and employees should disclose their SALN’s. Another law, the RA 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees also states that public records of officials should be accessible to the public for scrutiny.

    If the proposed rules are implemented, corrupt government officials might utilize this power and make their SALN’s inaccessible to the public.

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