Will Sotto law amendment cover bloggers?

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The Sotto law (Republic Act No. 53 (as amended)) protects journalists from being compelled to name their news source. It was named after Cebuano journalist Vicente Sotto, who was jailed for months over an article he printed in his newspaper.

The law protects “The publisher, editor, columnist or duly accredited reporter of any newspaper, magazine or periodical of general circulation.” The law, according to this Sun.Star Cebu article, “is silent about radio or TV journalists.”

Cebu Rep. Raul del Mar is seeking to amend that law to cover broadcast, Internet and wire service journalists. Del Mar’s HB 2960s expanded list enumerates: “publisher, station owner/manager, bureau chief, editor, news editor, writer or reporter, correspondent, opinion columnist or commentator, cartoonist, photographer or any other practitioner involved in the writing, editing or commenting on the news for mass circulation.”

The amendment will give them the same protection: “the journalist cannot be compelled to reveal the source of any news item, news report or information reported or disseminated in the media which was related in confidence to the journalist.”

I think the definition will cover bloggers. But then again, I have as much competence commenting on law as I have on quantum physics – which is nil.

Who was Vicente Sotto? In naming him one of the 100 Greatest Cebuanos of the century, Sun.Star Cebu said of Sotto:

“His achievements span such fields as journalism, literature, labor unionism, law, and politics. Considered “the Father” of Cebuano journalism, literature, and language, he published the pioneering newspapers La Justicia in 1899 (the first Filipino newspaper of Cebu), Ang Suga (the first newspaper in Cebuano), and a number of other periodicals.”

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2 Comments

  1. This is being abused by media. One case is the Juliet Javellana’s of Inquirer. In the first place, she should not report what was discussed in the executive session of the Senate even if the 4 senators revealed it to her. These senators have violated their rule and I believe that this act should be reported by the reporter to the Senate authorities. We all know that Inquirer have been siding with the opposition and not fair on their reporting. They are trying to protect these 4 opposition senators who revealed what was discussed in a closed-door session.

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