Philippine President lauds court decision allowing live coverage of Maguindanao massacre trial

08:11, June 15, 2011      

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Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III welcomed on Tuesday the decision of the Supreme Court allowing the live coverage of the Maguindanao massacre trial.

"We thank the Supreme Court for granting our request and the many of our fellowmen for the full coverage and live coverage of this trial," Aquino told reporters.

He said the high tribunal should be praised for its decision.

The President said allowing the live coverage of the trial against the suspects in the November 2009 murder of 58 people in Maguindanao province could help authorities to come up with law and to correct the process in order to prevent similar incident.

In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court decided to allow the live, but regulated, television coverage of the trial.

Various media groups including the National Union of Journalist of the Philippines and the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility lobbied to the SC that the trial be accorded live media coverage.

In an interview with the local media, Atty. Jose Midas Marquez, spokesman for the Supreme Court, said "conflicting rights, freedom of press, transparency - were weighed in transparency - were weighed in approving the live coverage of the Maguindanao massacre. "

He said that media entities need to follow the guidelines set by the Supreme Court in allowing the live media coverage.

"There should be no selective coverage," Marquez said, adding that the media applying for live coverage permission should undertake to cover the entire proceedings up to its promulgation.

Marquez added television stations covering the trial should not allow commercial breaks until adjourned except during breaks or when the court excluded the public.

The principal accused in the Maguindanao masssacre are former Datu Unsay, Maguindanao Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr.; former Maguindanao Governor Andal Ampatuan Sr.; former acting Maguindanao Governor Sajid Ampatuan; suspended Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Governor Zaldy Ampatuan; Akmad Ampatuan; Anwar Ampatuan and 196 others.

Source: Xinhua
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