Philippine court bans TV coverage of massacre trial
Philippine court bans TV coverage of massacre trial
Reversing its own landmark decision made last year — that for the first time allowed a live broadcast of any trial — the court said showing the proceedings on television would unfairly harm the defendants’ cases.
“A camera that broadcasts the proceedings live on television has no place in a criminal trial because of its prejudicial effects on the rights of accused individuals,” said the the court ruling.
Leaders of a then-politically powerful family in the violence-wracked southern Philippines, the Ampatuans, are accused of orchestrating the massacre of 58 people in 2009 in an attempt to stop a local rival’s election challenge.
The Ampatuans allegedly led a group of about 100 gunmen in stopping a convoy of cars carrying relatives of the rival political candidate, their lawyers and journalists, and then shooting them dead in a remote area.
The family patriarch, Andal Ampatuan Snr, as well as his son and namesake, who allegedly personally led the massacre, are among 75 people currently on trial over the murders.
The Supreme Court’s decision upheld a petition filed by Ampatuan Jnr, who argued that live coverage made him look guilty.
President Benigno Aquino’s spokesman immediately expressed concern over the court’s ruling.
“This is the litmus test of the judiciary and it is important for us, both the public and media, to be able to know what’s going on in the massacre trial,” spokesman Edwin Lacierda told reporters.
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, which has a strong interest in the case because 32 of the victims were media workers, said it would appeal.
Nevertheless, television networks had not broadcast the proceedings prior to Monday’s ruling because conditions imposed last year made it impractical.
One of the conditions was that a broadcaster had to show all the court hearings, not parts of them.
Prosecutors and rights groups have warned the trials, which began in 2010, will drag on for years or even decades because of delaying tactics by the defense and as the country’s justice system is overburdened.
Trump Administration says it knows location of all children
- Trump administration officials say the US government knows the location of all children in its custody after separating them from their families at the border and is working to reunite them
- As part of the effort, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials have posted notices in all its facilities advising detained parents who are trying to find or communicate with their children to call a hotline staffed 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Fr
Trump administration officials say the US government knows the location of all children in its custody after separating them from their families at the border and is working to reunite them.
A fact sheet on “zero-tolerance prosecution and family reunification” released Saturday night by the Department of Homeland Security also says a parent must request that their child be deported with them. In the past, the agency says, many parents have elected to be deported without their children. That may be a reflection of violence or persecution they face in their home countries.
As part of the effort, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials have posted notices in all its facilities advising detained parents who are trying to find or communicate with their children to call a hotline staffed 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.
A parent or guardian trying to determine if a child is in the custody of HHS should contact the Office of Refugee Resettlement National Call Center at 1-800-203-7001, or via email [email protected] Information will be collected and sent to HHS funded facility where minor is located.
The fact sheet doesn’t state how long it might take to reunite families. The Port Isabel Service Processing Center in Texas has been set up as the staging ground for the families to be reunited prior to deportation.
How the government would reunite families has been unclear because the families are first stopped by Customs and Border Patrol, with children taken into custody by HHS and adults detained through ICE. Children have been sent to shelters around the country, raising alarm that parents might never know where their children can be found.
The fact sheet states that ICE has implemented an identification mechanism to ensure on-going tracking of linked family members throughout the detention and removal process; designated detention locations for separated parents and will enhance current processes to ensure communication with children in HHS custody; worked closely with foreign consulates to ensure that travel documents are issued for both the parent and child at time of removal; and coordinated with HHS for the reuniting of the child prior to the parents’ departure from the US
President Donald Trump on Wednesday ordered the practice of separating parents and their children to stop. As of last Wednesday, 2,053 minors who were separated at the border were being cared for in HHS-funded facilities, the fact sheet said.
This version of the story has been corrected to say that the fact sheet was issued by the Department of Homeland Security, not Health and Human Services,
HHS zero-tolerance prosecution and family reunification fact sheet:
Office of Refugee Resettlement National Call Center: