Task Force on Media Security asks court to allow state-run agencies to cover Ampatuan massacre verdict
In this photo taken Nov. 23, 2018, Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, Joel Egco of the Presidential Task Force on Media Security and Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu lead the impromptu prayer rite Thursday at the massacre memorial in Ampatuan, Maguindanao.
Philstar.com/John Unson
Task Force on Media Security asks court to allow state-run agencies to cover Ampatuan massacre verdict
Kristine Joy Patag (Philstar.com) - December 4, 2019 - 5:59pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Presidential Task Force on Media Security has asked the Supreme Court to be allowed to state-run news agencies to cover the promulgation of the ruling on the Ampatuan massacre.

In a letter addressed to Court Administrator Midas Marquez, Presidential Communications Undersecretary Joel Egco asked that government communication agencies be allowed to cover the ruling “so that the proceedings can be aired on all government traditional and social media platforms.”

Their request comes after the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility, the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism as well as news organizations and individual journalists asked the high court to allow media organizations to conduct live coverage and streaming of the court ruling.

The 10-year trial of the single deadliest attack against journalists in the world and the worst election-related violence in Philippine history will end on December 19.

Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 221 Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes set the promulgation in the morning, at Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan, Taguig City.

Egco, who chairs the task force, stressed that the Ampatuan massacare is one of the cases under its “inventory.”

The PTFoMS was created to protect the life, liberty and security of media workers.

Covered in the PTFoMS letter are the Presidential Communications Operations Office, Radio Television Malacañang, Philippine News Agency, and People’s Television Network.

RELATED: Journalists hopeful of conviction in Ampatuan massacre case

Journalists: Live coverage will allow victims’ families to hear the ruling

The NUJP, CMFR and PCIJ were joined by 17 other journalists in their request that the promulgation be aired live.

In their letter to the Supreme Court, they said live coverage would allow the families of the 58 victims—32 of whom were media workers—to hear live the reading of the court’s decision on the killing of their relatives.

They stressed that not all of the victims’ families can fly to Manila to attend the promulgation as some are based in General Santos City, South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and Maguindanao.

“The trial of the Ampatuan massacre has been followed by the families mostly through after-hearing reports and off-court broadcasts in the past years. It is now their hope that they be allowed to hear the decision simultaneously as it is read in court. The promulgation is the culmination of their fight for justice at the lower court,” they added.

The journalists also stressed that live streaming would allow the public to hear firsthand how Reyes would rule on the case and would boost the public’s trust on transparency and accountability of court processes.

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