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KBP frowns over practice of turning reporters into witnesses

By JOEY NACALABAN
Correspondent .

THE Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster sa Pilipinas (KBP) yesterday frowned over the practice of law enforcers and prosecutors of turning reporters who covered anti-narcotics operations into witnesses.

Rey Maraunay, interim president of the KBP chapter here, said the organization would pass a resolution to express their dismay over many instances when reporters were summoned to the witness stand.

Maraunay told Magnum Radio many reporters who covered buy-and-bust operations carried out by the police or the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) have been complaining because law enforcers have been obliging them to sign an inventory receipts or reports.

Because their signatures were on the inventory reports, prosecutors then turned them into witnesses.

Maraunay said that should not be the case because that makes journalists participants instead of just reporters and objective storytellers.

The practice, he said, has caused reporters stress and gives them additional burden.

“Wala nay gakahimo ang media kay sige nalang adto sa korte,” Maraunay complained.

Rep. Rufus Rodriguez of the 2nd District of Cagayan de Oro said he would file a bill next week that would seek an amendment to a law so that reporters would not be forced to stand as witnesses in anti-drug operations.

He said it is improper to make reporters sign documents or inventory receipts everytime there is a raid.

Rodriguez said authorities should understand that the role of reporters is just to inform the public, and not be participants in the news stories they cover.

He said reporters should not be required to sign inventory reports or receipts, the reason why they are being subpoenaed.

“The PDEA and the police are already witnesses, plus the barangay officials. That is their obligation,” Rodriguez said.

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