Strict policies on rebel interviews sought
MANILA, Philippines—House committee on national defense and security chairman Muntinlupa Representative Rodolfo Biazon on Friday said that members of the media should no longer be allowed access to rebel camps.
This was in response to the conflicting views on whether Jordanian journalist Baker Atyani and his two Filipino crew were kidnapped or were working on stories at an Abu Sayyaf camp in Sulu.
Up to now Atyani and his local crew have not surfaced and although the Jordanian Embassy insisted that the three were abducted by Islamic extremists, local authorities maintain that the journalist and his crew were not abducted.
Biazon, a former Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff, said that the government should formulate a strict policy banning the media from taking trips into the camps of armed rebels without clearance from the military and police forces.
He said that although the local authorities should not be held liable for incidents of kidnapping and violence on reporters who insist on meeting rebel groups, they were still obligated to assist in rescue operations.
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