Why FOI Bill Matters to Citizen Journalists

In a land where graft and corruption is the norm, accountability is a must. The FOI bill encourages this as transparent shall no longer be held privately. As for citizen journalists, we must proactively support this bill because even though we’re amateurs, our watchdog role of the three estates of the government is still there.

In a cmfr-phil.org blog post, it was stated that “the people’s right to information is the lifeblood of good and meaningful citizenship, and this can be made fully operational if the Constitutional guarantee is complemented by the passage of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act.” If this bill gets approved, we are going to have a lot more freedom to exercise our skills in citizen journalism by monitoring public transactions. This, apparently, makes investigative journalism a lot easier.

We should care about this bill deeply. If we can, let us join rallies and petitions just to get this bill approved. Because it offers rights and privileges which allows us to see government documents which are of use to our jobs as watchdogs. Ultimately, we can inform people about whether or not the government is performing well.

Among the benefits that it offers are:

-Scope of accessible information and exceptions (most due to national security issues) clarified

-Speedy procedures in accessing information

-Unreasonable deprivation of information shall be considered a criminal act

If other countries managed to have their FOI laws established, I believe the Philippines can.

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