Thursday, May 04, 2006

Military stands by decision to restrict media

Military stands by decision to restrict media

First posted 04:29pm (Mla time) May 03, 2006
By Joel Guinto

THE MILITARY stood by its decision to restrict media coverage at its national headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, but denied the move was meant to muzzle press freedom.

“Will we suppress press freedom? I don’t think so,” military spokesman Major General Jose Angel Honrado said Wednesday, World Press Day.

Armed Forces Public Information Office (PIO) chief Colonel Tristan Kison announced Tuesday that all areas inside Camp Aguinaldo are off limits to media except for the immediate vicinity of the Defense Press Corps (DPC) and PIO offices.

"Some [media members] just enter officers' quarters,” he said. “We should give them privacy to do their work."

Under the guidelines, journalists covering events inside the camp should be escorted by PIO personnel or carry media advisories with them.

Reporters who are not accredited by the DPC and the PIO will be allowed inside the camp only on days when there are scheduled press briefings.

Kison said that even before the memorandum to restrict media was issued on April 20, reporters could not enter offices in Camp Aguinaldo without permission from the PIO.

Meanwhile, Armed Forces Chief of Staff General Generoso Senga refused to take calls from the media but managed to send a text message to a female reporter. "I am not angry. I miss you all. You should come to my office," he said.

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