Miriam Defensor Santiago calls for inclusion of bloggers, online journalists in media protection bill

Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago has said she wants to include bloggers and online journalists in a bill filed to protect members of the media, reports GMANews.tv. Senate Bill 455 seeks to amend Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, and make the killing of broadcast and print journalists "qualified as murder punishable."

Santiago said on Wednesday, "There is no reason why only members of the broadcast and print media should be included in the proposed law. Due regard must also be given to practitioners of the digital media... Even though they are not traditionally referred to as members of the media, they may actually be exposed to the same dangers encountered by institutional media practitioners."

According to GMANews.tv, the Senator said the bill should also include photojournalists, novelists, screenwriters, playwrights, feature filmmakers, documentary makers, television production crew, professional photographers, professional videographers and public relations contractors in its scope.

The bill was approved at the committee level, reports GMANews.tv. According to Senate.gov, Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Lito Lapid filed it in July 2010.

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