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Republic Act No. 11458 Protecting New Media Journalists Passed

A new law was passed protecting the new generation of journalists in the Philippines.

The existing protection granted to print and traditional media publishers, editors or reporters was under a seven decade old law, Republic Act No. 53 (RA 53), dubbed as the Shield Law. RA 53 exempted them from revealing “the source of any news-report or information appearing in said publication which was related in confidence to such publisher, editor or reporter, unless the court or a House or committee of Congress finds that such revelation is demanded by the interest of the State.”

Approved by President Rodrigo R. Duterte on August 30, 2019, Republic Act No. 11458 (RA 11458) was passed, expanding the existing protection given to print and traditional media publishers, editors or reporters, and granting the same protection to “duly recognized or accredited journalist, writer, reporter, contributor, opinion writer, editor, columnist, manager, media practitioner involved in the writing, editing, production, and dissemination of news for mass circulation, of any print, broadcast, wire service organization, or electronic mass media, including cable TV and its variants.”

New Shield Law Protects Traditional and New Journalists

As the new Shield Law, RA 11458 protects the disclosure of the source “of any news item, report or information appearing or being reported or disseminated through said media, which was related in confidence to the abovementioned media practitioners.”

Does the protection include bloggers? Maybe. We have yet to see the new Shield Law applied to this new genre of writers. At best, it can be argued that a blogger who “duly recognized” (presumably by his peers, or by a vast audience) can probably claim the benefit of the law.

Finally, as with the old Shield Law, RA 11458 requires the revelation of the source of the news item, report or information, if required by a court, or the House of Representatives, or the Senate, or if any committee of Congress finds that such revelation is demanded by the security of the State.

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