SC has to be strict on live trial coverage, but still ‘open for possibilities’ – Marquez

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/17 June) – The Supreme Court is holding its ground in deciding to maintain strict guidelines on the live coverage of the Maguindanao massacre trial, but Supreme Court administrator and spokesperson Jose Midas Marquez said the decision is still appealable.

“Media groups can still ask the court to reconsider,” added Marquez, who graced the inauguration and turn over rites of Bukidnon’s new Hall of Justice at the capitol grounds here.

He told MindaNews Thursday noon the SC approved the live coverage with the need for the public to see the whole proceedings in mind.

“The judge, when he hears the case, takes into account the entire picture. The public must be able to see all of these,” Marquez said.

He said the court has to maintain the dignity of court proceedings even with the live coverage.

“You cannot just decide to air only when there is someone crying,” he added, reacting to reports of journalist groups welcoming the decision to allow live coverage but questioning the strict rules.

He said the Supreme Court is, however, still “open for possibilities” as it holds dialogue with media groups concerning the issue. Burt he could not really say if the justices will budge in.

“This coverage, more than business, is a service,” he added.

On June 14, the Supreme Court approved petitions seeking live media coverage of the Maguindanao massacre trial. The court stressed that the verdict is applicable to the massacre trial alone.

The SC justices, voting unanimously, cited that they gave weight to the consolidated petition of different media networks and organizations and the letter of President Benigno Aquino III, who requested the court to allow the live media coverage of the trial.

The proceedings are heard in the sala of Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 221 Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), however, issued a statement expressed concerns that the SC guideline for nonstop coverage of the trial might discourage media outfits to air the court proceedings. (Walter I. Balane / MindaNews)