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National

Comelec to media: You need 'prior approval' before interviewing candidates; 'Ridiculous', says NUJP

InterAksyon.com
The online news portal of TV5

MANILA, Philippines - The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines on Friday urged the Commission on Elections to revoke a "ridiculous edict" requiring broadcast networks to seek prior notice before interviewing candidates.

In a statement, the NUJP called Resolution No. 9615 "not only absurd but downright unconstitutional since it constitutes prior restraint."

The resolution, issued January 15, states: "To determine whether the appearance or guesting in a program is bona fide, the broadcast stations or entities must show that... prior approval of the Commission was secured..."

After protests were raised about the new rule, Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes later clarified that the poll body did not mean prior consent, but "prior notice."

NUJP, however, said this made matters worse.

"This practically precludes impromptu interviews, which are invariably better at drawing out as much of the truth from interviewees than staged or pre-arranged interviews, and could also have dire consequences in emergency situations, such as natural disasters, when officials, who may also happen to be candidates, need to get information out as quickly as possible," the NUJP said. "To be able to comply with this ridiculous edict, broadcast networks and their news staff will need to be fortunetellers who should be able to predict where and when a candidate will be at any future moment."

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