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MANILA, Philippines -- New rules imposed by the Department of Justice on media coverage of the agency are a “curtailment of press freedom,” a major journalists’ organization said Tuesday.
Worse, said the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, “that these changes have been made on the recommendation of the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency also leaves the impression that the media and the work they do are considered a threat to security,” and “appears to be indicative of how this administration sees us -- not as an indispensable cornerstone of democracy but the enemy.”
The new rules require journalists covering the DOJ to go through the agency’s information office to arrange interviews with officials.
The NICA also recommended that ambush interviews no longer be allowed.
The NUJP said requiring “media to first seek clearance before they can conduct interviews and perform the other tasks necessary for their work smacks of prior restraint, therefore, a curtailment of press freedom.”
The offices for the two press corps covering the DOJ will also be transferred from the main building to another building.
“That these developments are happening under Secretary de Lima, who we have known in the past to be a staunch advocate and defender of human and constitutional rights, is very discouraging," the NUJP said as it urged De Lima to rethink the new rules and lift the restrictions to coverage.