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No more unnamed sources, NTC tells networks
First posted 01:09am (Mla time) Mar 05, 2006
By Daxim L. Lucas
BROADCAST networks may no longer air news items coming from "anonymous sources" under new rules approved on Friday.
In a memorandum circular, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) officially adopted the guidelines formulated by the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP), which will henceforth govern media coverage.
According to the guidelines, "a station may not broadcast news to which it cannot attribute a source."
"News from 'anonymous sources' is not allowed," the memo to KBP members read.
But the same memo distinguished between "anonymous" and "confidential" sources, saying that the latter may be used when airing information deemed essential to the public interest.
"News sources must be clearly identified, except when granted confidentiality," the memo read. "A station may broadcast information provided by confidential sources only if it is in the public interest to do so."
In its circular adopting the guidelines, the NTC said it was supporting the KBP's "strict injunction for broadcast stations not to allow their facilities to be used for advocating the overthrow of government by force of violence, and not to allow the broadcast of material which tend to propose or incite treason, rebellion, sedition, or pose a clear and present danger to the state."
The KBP said that before news from a confidential source could be aired, the station should first look for a source that could be identified or that could corroborate the information provided.
It said journalists may interview suspects or fugitives from the law, as long as they did not "accompany" the latter "while they are planning a crime, traveling to a crime scene, or committing a crime."
The guidelines also outlined rules for public affairs programs and commentaries, saying those "designed primarily to malign, unfairly criticize or attack a person, natural or juridical, shall not be allowed."
The KBP also reiterated a ban on reporters "receiving bribes to slant the news, to favor one side of a story, or to stop a story from being broadcast."
The NTC said the new rules were not a form of censorship but a form of self-regulation being imposed by the umbrella organization of broadcast outfits in the country.
Earlier, NTC Commissioner Ronald Solis said the guidelines would be applied to all media outfits operating in the country whether they were KBP members or not.