Solon files bill on journalist accreditation

Angela Casauay

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NUJP slams the bill as 'illogical' and 'superfluous'

ACCREDITATION. Reps Rufus Rodriguez (center) and Maximo Rodriguez Jr (not in photo) wants journalists to undergo accreditation exams. File photo by Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – First, it was Senator Jinggoy Estrada. Now, the proposal to require exams to accredit “professional journalists” has reached the House of Representatives. 

Cagayan Rep Rufus Rodriguez and his brother Abante Mindanao Rep Maximo Rodriguez Jr have filed House Bill 2559, which seeks to create a media body to be called the “Philippine Council for Journalists” that will administer exams to journalists before they can be “accredited in the field.” 

Under the bill, media practitioners who pass the “Professional Journalist Examination” will be considered as “accredited journalists.” Those who fail will be considered “non-accredited journalists” but they will not be prohibited from working for media outfits. 

The “self-regulatory” Philippine Council for Journalists will be composed of the following: 

  • National Press Club of the Philippines 
  • Philippine Press Institute
  • Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas
  • Press Photographers of the Philippines
  • Manila Overseas Press Club
  • National Union of Journalists of the Philippines
  • Publishers Association of the Philippines Inc
  • Federation of Provincial Press Club 

There will be separate examinations for print, radio, television and photo journalists, according to the bill. It makes no mention of online media.  

The measure provides an exemption for practicing journalists  – but only for those who have been in practice for at least 10 years. Such journalists would, however, still be “subject to interview” by the PCJ before they can be accredited.  

PCJ will also be in charge of conducting training for journalists. 

Read the bill here:

House Bill 2559 by Rappler Philippines


Twice, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) has thumbed down such a proposal. NUJP is one of the organizations proposed to be included in the PCJ.  

In a statement, NUJP chairperson Rowena Paraan said what the bill wants to do is “akin to determining who can and cannot speak out freely.” 

“As we have said before and will continue to say unequivocally, we oppose any and all attempt to subject journalism to any form of accreditation or licensing for the simple reason that, while it is true that journalism is a profession within the media industry, it is first and foremost part of the constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom of speech and of expression,” Paraan said. 

“In short, aside from the professional and ethical standards those who work for various media outfits need to adhere to by reason of their employment, anyone and everyone can and should be able to practice journalism without being discriminated against by virtue of some misguided criteria.” 

Paraan also called the bill “illogical” since it will still allow “non-accredited journalists” to practice their profession. This makes the accreditation process “superfluous.” 

Magna Carta for Journalists 

NUJP instead endorsed another proposal for a “Magna Carta for Journalists” filed by former ABS-CBN reporter and now Laguna 3rd district Representative Sol Aragones. 

House Bill 2568 seeks to institutionalize a code of ethics and bill of rights for journalists. It also incorporates a Freedom of Information component, which requires government agencies to quickly approve media requests for information. 

Aragones’ measure also seeks to create a Journalist Welfare Fund worth P50 million that will serve as an insurance for journalists in case of death or accidents. 

Read the bill here:

Magna Carta for Journalists by Rep Sol Aragones by Rappler Philippines


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