Revised Sotto Law to protect sources of online and broadcast journalists

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Sen. Tito Sotto thanked Sen. Grace Poe, head of the Senate committee on public information and mass media, for "prioritizing" the amendatory bill.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Online and broadcast journalists will soon be covered by a law protecting journalists from revealing their sources.

On Wednesday, the Senate committee on public information and mass media approved, in principle, amendments to the Sotto Law or Republic Act 53.

With the amendments, online and broadcast journalists will not be compelled to disclose their sources unless the story compromises national security.

Authored by the grandfather of Senate Majority Leader Tito Sotto who was himself a journalist, the law was enacted in 1946 when print was the only medium of information.

Sotto said his bill does not cover bloggers and social media practitioners who are not connected with legitimate media outlets.

Committee chairman Sen. Grace Poe said a committee report will be prepared and discussed in the plenary in two weeks.

"It is high time that lawmakers update the 70-year-old law amid developments in the practice of the profession and in the spirit of the constitutional provision of upholding the freedom of the press," Poe said in a statement.

She said the bill will complement the proposed Freedom of Information Act, which allows access to public documents.

The counterpart House bill has been approved on third and final reading.

Related: President Duterte finally signs FOI

CNN Philippines' Cecille Lardizabal contributed to this report