Saturday, March 01, 2008

Prior restraint

The order of the Air Transportation Office (A.T.O.) to impose a no-fly zone over the Makati business district during the mammoth interfaith gathering on Friday Febraury 29 is patently unconstitutional.
It infringes on the constitutional right to press freedom, abridging newsmen's basic and fundamental right to legitimate news-gathering.
Because of the no-fly zone, no aerial photo shots of the gathering could be done, thus depriving the public of getting a bird's eye-view of the extent of the crowd that participated.
We are left with building-top photo, like the one taken by Voltaire Domingo.
It is clearly a form of prior restraint.
It is no different from that directive of the National Telecommunications Commission intruding on the news content, and editorial prerogatives of the press, particuarly broadcast media.
The NTC directive was done in the guise of regulation.
The ATO diective imposing a no-fly zone over Makati last Friday was also done in the guise of safety concerns.
Many typhoons have swept across Makati the past years.
The ATO was never heard imposing any no-fly zone.
This is the first time I have ever heard of Makati being declared a no-fly zone from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., coincidentally the time during which the interfaith gathering took place.

No comments: