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Broadcast of Maguindanao massacre ruling sought

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SEVERAL media have asked the Supreme Court to allow the Dec.19 promulgation of the ruling in a decade-old massacre case to be broadcast live.

In a letter, the groups said the live coverage and streaming would benefit the families of the 58 victims, 32 of whom were journalists.

Most of the victims live in the Mindanao region and do not have the means to go to Manila where the decision will be announced, according to a copy of the letter.

The letter was signed by the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility and Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism.

They also said the massacre trial has only been followed by the families mostly through reports and broadcasts.

“It is now their hope that they be allowed to hear the decision simultaneously as it is read in court,” they said. “The promulgation is the culmination of their fight for justice at the lower courtThe live coverage wont prejudice the rights of the accused,” the journalist groups said.

It would also allow the public to hear the ruling of the lower court, boosting “the public’s trust on transparency and accountability of court processes, particularly in how fair and just the case has been decided.”

Editors and officers and other journalists from several media networks, publications, signed the letter in support.

Those who signed were MindaNews, Philippine Press Institute, Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Mindanao Times, Philippine Star and Interaksyon, Vera Files, ABS-CBN, Mindanao Gold Star Daily/GMA News 7 Network Cagayan de Oro, News5, Rappler, Notre Dame Broadcasting Corp., Radyo ni Juan Network and The Mindanao Cross.

Quezon City Judge Jocelyn A. Solis-Reyes has set the promulgation for Dec. 19 at 9 a.m. at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City.

The court was supposed to rule on the case before the 10th year anniversary of the massacre on Nov. 23 but it asked the high court to give it more time due to “voluminous records.”

The ambush took place when family members, supporters, and members of the media were accompanying Esmael G. Mangudadatu, who was then running for governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, for the filing of his certificate of candidacy.

New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists said the Maguindanao massacre is the “worst single incident of journalist killing” in its records. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas





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