House OKs Ban on Suspects’ Religious Tag

October 17, 2008

Author: Lira Dalangin-Fernandez


The House of Representatives has approved on third and final reading a bill that seeks to make illegal for media to identify suspected criminals by their religion or ethnicity.

Principally authored by Representative Juan Edgardo Angara and co-authored by Representatives Pangalian M. Balindong, Arnulfo F. Go, Luzviminda C. Ilagan, Bienvenido M. Abante, Justin SB Chipeco, Yusop H. Jikiri, Raul Del Mar and Neptali Gonzales, House Bill 100 has been transmitted to the Senate for plenary action.

If it becomes a law, the measure would make it unlawful for newspapers, radio stations, televisions and electronic mass media to use "Muslim," "Christian" or any other word denoting religious or ethnic affiliation to describe a suspected or convicted criminal.

"The use of religious, regional, or ethnic affiliations to describe suspects or convicts in mass media creates a sweeping generalization on other members of the race, culture or region who did not commit any crime," Angara said Friday.