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MANILA, Philippines – The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) has yet to finalize its guidelines for the live coverage of public interviews of contenders for the post of chief justice. A draft of the guidelines, however, showed that the rules are somewhat similar to those that governed the news media’s coverage of the impeachment trial of dismissed Chief Justice Renato Corona.
Reporters – aside those who cover the Supreme Court – have to apply for accreditation at the Supreme Court (SC). Applicants must submit the following to the SC Public Information Office (PIO):
a. accomplished accreditation form with 2 pieces of 1×1 photo
b. proper credentials and letter of assignment from editor/network manager
Applications may be submitted a week before the public interviews. Senator Francis Escudero, a JBC member, said the interviews may be held for 4-5 days on the third week of July.
The JBC will also designate a room for the media. Like the coverage in impeachment trial, makeshift TV studios could also be set up in the media room. Stand-up reporting and interviews are only allowed inside the media room.
Interviews are not allowed in the hallways and the Division hearing room, the tentative venue of the public interviews. Those who violate this provision risk canceling their accreditation.
Media personnel must get security tags from the PIO for their equipment.
Because of limited space, however, only the cameramen of 5 networks – GMA7, ABS-CBN, TV5, SOLAR and NBN-4 – and their equipment will be allowed in the division room, plus the personnel and equipment of the SC-PIO, based on the guidelines.
But JBC member Jose Mejia said nothing is final yet. “The idea now is for the PIO to designate just one camera inside, and all the media networks will coordinate now with the PIO for audio-video live feed,” he told reporters.
Open to suggestions
Mejia said the JBC may allow livestreaming of the public interviews.
The media will also have designated seats at the left and right rear areas of the division hearing room.
Mejia said they are open to suggestions from news organizations. “It will be open to consultation. I suggest that if you have any proposal to smoothen the coverage, nothing prevents you from submitting them,” he told reporters after the JBC meeting on Monday, June 25.
The JBC – the body that vets nominees for the judiciary to the President – will finalize the guidelines in two weeks.
In an unprecedented move, the JBC decided to have the public interviews aired live. Calls for transparency in the JBC selection process increased following the May 29 removal of Corona – whom the JBC unaimously endorsed for associate justice in 2002 and chief justice in 2010.
Mejia said they received formal requests from former JBC member Sen Francis Pangilinan and the Supreme Court Appointments Watch (SCAW), a coalition of civil society groups, to have the interviews aired live.
“It will raise pressure on the JBC. They would have to justify why they are voting for candidates whose competence or independence is under question,” Vincent Lazatin of SCAW told Rappler in a previous interview. – Rappler.com
Click on the links below for more.
- 22 official candidates for Chief Justice
- JBC to interview CJ candidates starting July 24
- 25 accept nominations for chief justice
- Questions for chief justice candidates
- JBC should review process of choosing CJ
- Besides JBC, Palace has judicial search committee
- CONVERSATIONS: How should the JBC choose the next chief justice? #SCWatch