By Charmaine A. Tadalan, Reporter
A RESOLUTION adopting a set of guidelines on media coverage at the House of Representatives has been filed in the chamber.
“It’s a draft guideline on the manner or process of covering Congress… I, for one, have some reservations and questions,” Public Information chair Ben P. Evardone of Eastern Samar told reporters in a press briefing, Monday.
The solon said House Resolution 2149, adopting the said guidelines, was filed by Rep. Cristina Roa-Puno of the first district of Antipolo City.
“Based on my initial discussion with Congresswoman Roa-Puno, apparently na-discuss niya kay (she has discussed this with the) Speaker and the Speaker told her to go through the motion. Idaan sa Committee, pag-usapan (this will go through the Committee to be discussed),” Mr. Evardone also said.
According to the draft Rules for Media Coverage as distributed to House reporters, reporters are not allowed to conduct ambush interviews at the Main Building entrance, Main lobby, hallways and corridors, among others.
The Office of the Speaker, Majority Leader, and House members shall also be “No Coverage Zones,” unless permitted by the concerned office.
Mr. Evardone also noted the new rules will impose stricter requirements for members of foreign media.
“Halimbawa, foreign stringer ako, halimbawa sa wires, bago ako makapagcover dito hihingi muna ako ng endorsement from embassy tapos ipa-process,” he said, referring to a provision in the guidelines that requires foreign media to be endorsed by their respective embassies prior to covering the House. (For example, I’m a foreign stringer, for example, I’m from news wires, before I can cover, I must ask for an endorsement from the embassy before it can be processed.)
Ms. Roa-Puno explained the current version of the draft was a product of discussions between the House and media members.
“We have revised the version first presented to media during Alvarez’s time. The current version went through consultations even with media members and please be assured it does not in any way curtail press freedom,” she said.
“As a media practitioner, I made sure of it. This is just for the safety of both members and media members and also to safeguard order and security within the House,” she added.