Sunday, November 9, 2008

PNP chief briefs Revilla on media access to police blotter

Philippine National Police chief Director General Jesus Verzosa clarified to Sen. Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. his memorandum circular that sought to limit media access to police blotters.

PNP spokesman Chief Superintendent Nicanor Bartolome on Sunday said Verzosa met with Revilla, chair of the Senate committee public information and media during a meeting last Friday.

Verzosa assured Revilla that the PNP respects and recognizes the right of the public particularly the media to free access to information contained in the police blotter.

"The questioned portion in the policy which defines the standard on releasing public information was created to protect the victims of crimes from undue publication of their identities and not to curtail the right of the media," said Verzosa.

Verzosa also said that this policy is intended to enhance the cooperation between the PNP and the working press and to ensure the safety and security of the victims and their families.

Verzosa specified to Revilla that this new media relations policy will protect people involved in sensitive cases like kidnapping and other sensational crimes by avoiding undue publication of the victims' identities as well as ongoing follow-up operations.

The PNP chief expressed willingness to meet with the leaders of the media industry to further clarify the intent of the PNP on the decentralization of the functions of the public information office.

The PNP will also issue a clarificatory amendment to the provision in question to avoid misinterpretation and misconception.

Verzosa assured the Senator that the PNP intends no less than the common good of the PNP, the media and the general public as far as dissemination of timely and accurate news reports are concerned.

"We recognize the vital role of media as the fourth estate and we believe that linking arms and working together translates to working better for the benefit of the Filipino people," he said.

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