SC allows live coverage of Maguindanao massacre verdict through PTV

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The Supreme Court has allowed live coverage of the verdict on the Maguindanao massacre.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 10) — The Supreme Court allowed Tuesday live media coverage of the promulgation of the verdict on the Maguindanao massacre case through state broadcaster People’s Television Network (PTV).

SC Assistant Court Administrator and Public Information Office chief Brian Keith Hosaka said the court en banc has approved the request for live broadcast, but only two cameras from PTV 4 will be allowed inside the courtroom "due to space limitations and security concerns."

All other media outfits would have to link up with PTV's live feed for their own broadcasts. Hosaka added that the cameras would be strictly limited to wide-angle shots: one would focus on the judge and the court personnel who will read the decision, while the other will be on the parties and their lawyers.

The decision is similar to an earlier request made by its Public Information Office (PIO) to PTV, asking that it provide technical support, including airtime, cameras and video footage that would be provided to other media groups, for the live coverage of the verdict set on December 19.

“Because of the paramount public interest involved in this case, the Supreme Court, which is overseeing the matter, would like to have live television coverage of the proceedings,” Hosaka said in a letter dated December 5 to PTV General Manager and Chief Operating Officer Julieta Claveria-Lacza.

READ: Zero conviction in Maguindanao massacre case would mean death of press freedom, lawyer says

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility, and the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism wrote last week to Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta to allow the livestreaming of the verdict.

“The live coverage/streaming of the promulgation would allow the families and relatives of the 58 victims who may not be able to attend the promulgation in Metro Manila to hear live the reading of the court’s decision on the killing of their relatives,” they said.

The Presidential Task Force on Media Security also asked for permission from the court for state media and the Presidential Communications Operations Office to be allowed to cover the verdict.

Maguindanao massacre: The children it left behind

The verdict on the Maguindanao massacre will be handed down by the Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 221 at the Quezon City Jail Annex at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City at 9 a.m.

Hosaka added that his office has been instructed to immediately upload a copy of the decision on the SC website once available. He added that journalists would not be allowed inside the courtroom to give space for over a hundred accused, the families of the victims, and their counsels.

"This will be formal and official court proceedings. We want to maintain order," Hosaka added.

READ: 'One conviction enough as Christmas gift for kin of Maguindanao Massacre victims'

Philippine National Police (PNP) officer-in-charge PLtGen Archie Gamboa has ordered to tighten security at the Quezon City Jail Annex. The PNP also said it is ready to provide additional security to Solis-Reyes if she requests it.

Among the 58 victims in the massacre on November 23, 2009 were 32 journalists. The incident has been tagged as the world’s deadliest single attack against the media workers and the worst case of election-related violence in the Philippines. In an earlier statement, the NUJP said it expects “nothing less than a conviction” for those involved in the killings.

CNN Philippines’ Anjo Alimario, Xave Gregorio and Melissa Luz Lopez contributed to this report.