‘Right-to-reply’ bill to kill Fourth Estate
AMOK BILL: A monster bill that is close to final approval in the House and the Senate seeks to force print and broadcast media to always publish or broadcast the side of anybody who feels slighted by a media report.
It seems the objective of the “Right to Reply” bill is to snuff out press freedom and harass the Fourth Estate into extinction.
Aside from their regular issue, newspapers will have to print an extra issue the next day to run in the same spot on the same page, with the same prominence, the side of anybody feeling unfairly reported on. One story could have several people insisting on giving their side, making their reaction longer than the story being answered or clarified.
Radio and TV stations will have to postpone or rearrange regular programming every other day just to broadcast in the same time slot, with equal prominence, the side of persons who complain having been violated.
If the complainants are not happy with their reactions as published or broadcast, a new round of correction stories or shows could follow.
It is crazy, but stranger things have been concocted by our overacting senators and congressmen.
By Federico D. Pascual Jr.
Updated February 24, 2009 12:00 AM