MANILA– The task force mandated to address the COVID-19 outbreak has imposed “accreditation” for media covering the quarantine areas.

In a press conference explaining the Luzon-wide “enhanced community quarantine,” the Inter-Agency Task Force said that media, although allowed to travel within quarantined areas, are to secure special pass from the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO).

IATF Spokesperson Karlo Nograles said media workers should have get accreditation from PCOO within 72-hours. This would also mean that media people won’t be allowed entry to restricted areas within the 72-hour waiting time, possibly cutting the continuous stream of news for the public.

Although the Palace believes the accreditation would help the community quarantine, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) believes it to be “counter-productive.”

In a statement, NUJP said the media’s role in the COVID emergency is ‘vital’ in both informing the government and the people of the current situation on the ground.

The requirement to secure a PCOO-accredited media ID, the group said, would only become a hindrance in the flow of news reporting, especially now that the public needed it the most.

“We are aware that we need to contribute to the resolution of this emergency and we can do it best by doing our jobs as journalists,” said NUJP. “Making it difficult for us to contribute does not help at all.”

The organization urges the Palace to rethink this guideline and says that media people are best partners with the government during such emergencies. # nordis.net

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