Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Chief Justice Corona Orders Live Webcast of Maguindanao Massacre Trial thru SC Website

Pursuant to the decision of the Supreme Court partially granting pro hac vice (for this particular occasion) the request for the live broadcast of the Maguindanao Massacre trial, Chief Justice Renato C. Corona has instructed the SC Public Information Office to provide a live video webcast of the court proceedings through the SC website. With this, the Maguindanao Massacre trial will be accessible to viewers worldwide, continuously and without interruption. Once a scheduled trial is in progress, it can be immediately viewed by simply accessing the SC website using computers or mobile internet devices, including cellphones equipped with required software.

Public Information Office Chief and Court Administrator Jose Midas P. Marquez is now restructuring the website and acquiring the technical requirements to comply with the order of the Chief Justice. “I am meeting with the technical staff this afternoon so that we could immediately comply with the instructions of the Chief Justice. Hopefully, with the live webcast, the objections regarding no commercial breaks or gaps, and continuous broadcast of entire proceedings, will be addressed,” Marquez said.

On 14 June 2011, the Court unanimously allowed the live broadcast of the Maguindanao Massacre Trial based on a set of guidelines; some of which are: (1) an audio-visual recording of the Maguindanao massacre cases may be made both for documentary purposes and for transmittal to live broadcast broadcasting; (2) media entities must file with the trial court a letter of application, manifesting that they intend to broadcast the audio-visual recording (AVR) of the proceedings; no selective or partial coverage shall be allowed and no media entity shall be allowed to broadcast the proceedings without an application duly approved by the trial court; (3) a single fixed compact camera shall be installed inconspicuously inside the courtroom to provide a single wide-angle full-view of the sala of the trial court; no panning and zooming shall be allowed to avoid unduly highlighting or downplaying incidents in the proceedings x x x x (5) the broadcasting of the proceedings for a particular day must be continuous and in its entirety; (6) no commercial break or any other gap shall be allowed until the day’s proceedings are adjourned, except during the period of recess call by the trial court and during portions of the proceedings wherein the public is ordered excluded; (7) the proceedings shall be broadcast without any voice-overs, except brief annotations of scenes depicted therein as may be necessary to explain them at the start or at the end of the scene; (8) no repeat airing of the AVR shall be allowed until after the finality of judgment, except brief footages and still images derived from or cartographic sketches of scenes based on the recording, only for news purposes, which shall likewise observe the sub judice rule and be subject to the contempt power of the court. x x x x
“We will try to do a test webcast by next week,” Marquez added.

AM No. 10-11-5-SC, Re: Petition for Radio and Television Coverage of the Multiple Murder Cases against Maguindanao Governor Zaldy Ampatuan, et al.; AM No. 10-11-7-SC, Re: Letter of President Benigno S. Aquino III for the Live Media Coverage of the Maguindanao Massacre Trial, June 14, 2011.

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