SC backtracks: No ban on live broadcast of press cons

By Edu Punay, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jun 06 2014 03:25 AM | Updated as of Jun 06 2014 11:25 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The Supreme Court (SC) has no policy barring live television and radio coverage of press conferences after all.

Last Tuesday, spokesman Theodore Te stopped the live airing of his press conference on SC actions on various cases, including petitions against the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).

He told reporters on record: “The court has never allowed live coverage of its proceedings and I read that to include the press conference.”

Yesterday, Te said the SC or its public information office has no policy barring TV and radio networks from covering live his press conferences.

“In the interest of clearing things, I state categorically that there is no ban on live coverage of media conferences by the Court nor the PIO,” he said. “I am enough of a lawyer to know that such a ban would not survive the laugh test, let alone constitutional scrutiny.”

Te said Tuesday’s incident was just an “unfortunate speed bump” on his “relatively smooth” relationship with the two press organizations covering the SC: the Justice and Court Reporters Association and Justice Reporters Organization.

“What I understand, however, of my functions as PIO chief is that part of it may require regulating the Courts messaging requirements, which include how a press con is to be conducted within the Court’s premises as far as facilities are concerned,” he said.

“This would include whether the news networks could use the Court’s facilities and could enter the Court to perform certain acts.”

Te said it was “an unwise presumption” on his part in not allowing media to report his press briefing last Tuesday.

“I did say no simply because in my estimation, the stories that would come out wouldn’t be that newsworthy,” he said.

“Perhaps that may have been an unwise presumption on my part that I was worthy of appreciating the newsworthiness of the stories that would be reported.”

Te said he would have changed his mind and allowed cables in had the reporters asked him to reconsider his decision.