The Supreme Court unanimously voted to partially granted the request for live broadcast by television and radio of the trial court proceedings of the Maguindanao massacre case.
“It is about time to craft a win-win situation that shall not compromise rights in the criminal administration of justice, sacrifice press freedom and allied rights, and interfere with the integrity, dignity and solemnity of judiciary proceedings,” the Court said in its 15-page resolution.
However, the Supreme Court wants a strict implementation of the guidelines for the live media coverage.
The audio-visual recording of the Maguindanao massacre cases may be made both for documentary purposes and for transmittal to live broadcast broadcasting;
Media entities must file with the Quezon City Regional Trial Court 221 a letter of application for the broadcasting of audio-visual recording (AVR) of the proceedings; no selective or partial coverage shall be allowed and no media entity shall be allowed to broadcast the proceedings without an application duly approved by the trial court;
A single fixed compact camera shall be installed inconspicuously inside the courtroom to provide a single wide-angle full-view of the sala of the trial court; no panning and zooming shall be allowed to avoid unduly highlighting or downplaying incidents in the proceedings; The SC Public Information Office and the Office of the Court Administrator shall coordinate and assist the trial court on the physical set-up of the camera and equipment;
The transmittal of the AVR from inside the courtroom to the media entities shall be conducted in such a way that the least physical disturbance shall be ensured;
The broadcasting of the proceedings for a particular day must be continuous and in its entirety;
No commercial break or any other gap shall be allowed until the day’s proceedings are adjourned, except during the period of recess call by the trial court and during portions of the proceedings wherein the public is ordered excluded;
The proceedings shall be broadcast without any voice-over, except brief annotations of scenes depicted therein as may be necessary to explain them at the start or at the end of the scene;
No repeat airing of the AVR shall be allowed until after the finality of judgment, except brief footages and still images derived from or cartographic sketches of scenes based on the recording, only for news purposes, which shall likewise observe the sub judice rule and be subject to the contempt power of the court;
The original AVR shall be deposited in the National Museum and the Records Management and Archives Office for preservation and exhibition; and
The AVR of the proceedings shall be made under the supervision and control of the trial court.
It is not known yet when the live coverage will be allowed to start. A series of consultations with stakeholders will be done first.
SC spokesman and Court Administrator Midas Marquez said there was still a need to balance the Constitutional rights of the accused, particularly the clan of Ampatuan, as well as the rights of the public to information.
Did the Supreme Court really wants to have a live coverage of the Maguindanao massacre case trial? I don’t think the guidelines imposed by the High Tribunal are fair!