The travails of a deposed President continue. The Sandiganbayan reels to start hearing the criminal charges against Mr. Joseph E. Estrada. Media seeks to cover the event via live television and live radio broadcast and endeavors this Court to allow it that kind of access to the proceedings.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary
On 13 March 2001, the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP), an association representing duly franchised and authorized television and radio networks throughout the country, sent a letter 1 requesting this Court to allow live media coverage of the anticipated trial of the plunder and other criminal cases filed against former President Joseph E. Estrada before the Sandiganbayan in order "to assure the public of full transparency in the proceedings of an unprecedented case in our history." 2 The request was seconded by Mr. Cesar N. Sarino in his letter of 05 April 2001 to the Chief Justice and, still later, by Senator Renato Cayetano and Attorney Ricardo Romulo.cralaw : red
On 17 April 2001, the Honorable Secretary of Justice Hernando Perez formally filed the instant petition, 3 submitting the following exegesis:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"3. The foregoing criminal cases involve the previous acts of the former highest official of the land, members of his family, his cohorts and, therefore, it cannot be over emphasized that the prosecution thereof, definitely involves a matter of public concern and interest, or a matter over which the entire citizenry has the right to know, be informed and made aware of.
"4. There is no gainsaying that the constitutional right of the people to be informed on matters of public concern, as in the instant cases, can best be recognized, served and satisfied by allowing the live radio and television coverage of the concomitant court proceedings.
"5. Moreover, the live radio and television coverage of the proceedings will also serve the dual purpose of ensuring the desired transparency in the administration of justice in order to disabuse the minds of the supporters of the past regime of any and all unfounded notions, or ill-perceived attempts on the part of the present dispensation, to ‘railroad’ the instant criminal cases against the Former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada." 4
Public interest, the petition further averred, should be evident bearing in mind the right of the public to vital information affecting the nation.
In effect, the petition seeks a re-examination of the 23rd October 1991 resolution of this Court in a case for libel filed by then President Corazon C. Aquino. The resolution read:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"The records of the Constitutional Commission are bereft of discussion regarding the subject of cameras in the courtroom. Similarly, Philippine courts have not had the opportunity to rule on the question squarely.
"While we take notice of the September 1990 report of the United States Judicial Conference Ad Hoc Committee on Cameras in the Courtroom, still the current rule obtaining in the Federal Courts of the United States prohibits the presence of television cameras in criminal trials. Rule 53 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure forbids the taking of photographs during the progress of judicial proceedings or radio broadcasting of such proceedings from the courtroom. A trial of any kind or in any court is a matter of serious importance to all concerned and should not be treated as a means of entertainment. To so treat it deprives the Court of the dignity which pertains to it and departs from the orderly and serious quest for truth for which our judicial proceedings are formulated.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary
"Courts do not discriminate against radio and television media by forbidding the broadcasting or televising of a trial while permitting the newspaper reporter access to the courtroom, since a television or news reporter has the same privilege, as the news reporter is not permitted to bring his typewriter or printing press into the courtroom.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary
"In Estes v. Texas, the United States Supreme Court held that television coverage of judicial proceedings involves an inherent denial of the due process rights of a criminal defendant. Voting 5-4, the Court through Mr. Justice Clark, identified four (4) areas of potential prejudice which might arise from the impact of the cameras on the jury, witnesses, the trial judge and the defendant. The decision in part pertinently stated:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"‘Experience likewise has established the prejudicial effect of telecasting on witnesses. Witnesses might be frightened, play to the camera, or become nervous. They are subject to extraordinary out-of-court influences which might affect their testimony. Also, telecasting not only increases the trial judge’s responsibility to avoid actual prejudice to the defendant, it may as well affect his own performance. Judges are human beings also and are subject to the same psychological reactions as laymen. For the defendant, telecasting is a form of mental harassment and subjects him to excessive public exposure and distracts him from the effective presentation of his defense.
‘The television camera is a powerful weapon which intentionally or inadvertently can destroy an accused and his case in the eyes of the public.’
"Representatives of the press have no special standing to apply for a writ of mandate to compel a court to permit them to attend a trial, since within the courtroom, a reporter’s constitutional rights are no greater than those of any other member of the public. Massive intrusion of representatives of the news media into the trial itself can so alter or destroy the constitutionally necessary judicial atmosphere and decorum that the requirements of impartiality imposed by due process of law are denied the defendant and a defendant in a criminal proceeding should not be forced to run a gauntlet of reporters and photographers each time he enters or leaves the courtroom.
"Considering the prejudice it poses to the defendant’s right to due process as well as to the fair and orderly administration of justice, and considering further that the freedom of the press and the right of the people to information may be served and satisfied by less distracting, degrading and prejudicial means, live radio and television coverage of court proceedings shall not be allowed. Video footages of court hearings for news purposes shall be restricted and limited to shots of the courtroom, the judicial officers, the parties and their counsel taken prior to the commencement of official proceedings. No video shots or photographs shall be permitted during the trial proper.
"Accordingly, in order to protect the parties’ right to due process, to prevent the distraction of the participants in the proceedings and in the last analysis, to avoid miscarriage of justice, the Court resolved to PROHIBIT live radio and television coverage of court proceedings. Video footages of court hearings for news purposes shall be limited and restricted as above indicated."cralaw virtua1aw library
Admittedly, the press is a mighty catalyst in awakening public consciousness, and it has become an important instrument in the quest for truth. 5 Recent history exemplifies media’s invigorating presence, and its contribution to society is quite impressive. The Court, just recently, has taken judicial notice of the enormous effect of media in stirring public sentience during the impeachment trial, a partly judicial and partly political exercise, indeed the most-watched program in the boob-tubes during those times, that would soon culminate in EDSA II.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary
The propriety of granting or denying the instant petition involve the weighing out of the constitutional guarantees of freedom of the press and the right to public information, on the one hand, and the fundamental rights of the accused, on the other hand, along with the constitutional power of a court to control its proceedings in ensuring a fair and impartial trial. 6
When these rights race against one another, jurisprudence 7 tells us that the right of the accused must be preferred to win.
With the possibility of losing not only the precious liberty but also the very life of an accused, it behooves all to make absolutely certain that an accused receives a verdict solely on the basis of a just and dispassionate judgment, a verdict that would come only after the presentation of credible evidence testified to by unbiased witnesses unswayed by any kind of pressure, whether open or subtle, in proceedings that are devoid of histrionics that might detract from its basic aim to ferret veritable facts free from improper influence, 8 and decreed by a judge with an unprejudiced mind, unbridled by running emotions or passions.
Due process guarantees the accused a presumption of innocence until the contrary is proved in a trial that is not lifted above its individual settings nor made an object of public’s attention 9 and where the conclusions reached are induced not by any outside force or influence 10 but only by evidence and argument given in open court, where fitting dignity and calm ambiance is demanded.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary
Witnesses and judges may very well be men and women of fortitude, able to thrive in hardy climate, with every reason to presume firmness of mind and resolute endurance, but it must also be conceded that "television can work profound changes in the behavior of the people it focuses on." 11 Even while it may be difficult to quantify the influence, or pressure that media can bring to bear on them directly and through the shaping of public opinion, it is a fact, nonetheless, that, indeed, it does so in so many ways and in varying degrees. The conscious or unconscious effect that such a coverage may have on the testimony of witnesses and the decision of judges cannot be evaluated but, it can likewise be said, it is not at all unlikely for a vote of guilt or innocence to yield to it. 12 It might be farcical to build around them an impregnable armor against the influence of the most powerful media of public opinion. 13
To say that actual prejudice should first be present would leave to near nirvana the subtle threats to justice that a disturbance of the mind so indispensable to the calm and deliberate dispensation of justice can create. 14 The effect of television may escape the ordinary means of proof, but it is not far-fetched for it to gradually erode our basal conception of a trial such as we know it now. 15
An accused has a right to a public trial but it is a right that belongs to him, more than anyone else, where his life or liberty can be held critically in balance. A public trial aims to ensure that he is fairly dealt with and would not be unjustly condemned and that his rights are not compromised in secrete conclaves of long ago. A public trial is not synonymous with publicized trial; it only implies that the court doors must be open to those who wish to come, sit in the available seats, conduct themselves with decorum and observe the trial process. In the constitutional sense, a courtroom should have enough facilities for a reasonable number of the public to observe the proceedings, not too small as to render the openness negligible and not too large as to distract the trial participants from their proper functions, who shall then be totally free to report what they have observed during the proceedings. 16
The courts recognize the constitutionally embodied freedom of the press and the right to public information. It also approves of media’s exalted power to provide the most accurate and comprehensive means of conveying the proceedings to the public and in acquainting the public with the judicial process in action; nevertheless, within the courthouse, the overriding consideration is still the paramount right of the accused to due process 17 which must never be allowed to suffer diminution in its constitutional proportions. Justice Clark thusly pronounced, "while a maximum freedom must be allowed the press in carrying out the important function of informing the public in a democratic society, its exercise must necessarily be subject to the maintenance of absolute fairness in the judicial process." 18
This Court, in the instance 19 already mentioned, citing Estes v. Texas, 20 the United States Supreme Court holding the television coverage of judicial proceedings as an inherent denial of due process rights of an accused, also identified the following as being likely prejudices:chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary
"1. The potential impact of television . . . is perhaps of the greatest significance. . . . From the moment the trial judge announces that a case will be televised it becomes a cause célèbre. The whole community, . . . becomes interested in all the morbid details surrounding it. The approaching trial immediately assumes an important status in the public press and the accused is highly publicized along with the offense with which he is charged. Every juror carries with him into the jury box these solemn facts and thus increases the chance of prejudice that is present in every criminal case. . . .
"2. The quality of the testimony in criminal trials will often be impaired. The impact upon a witness of the knowledge that he is being viewed by a vast audience is simply incalculable. Some may be demoralized and frightened, some cocky and given to overstatement; memories may falter, as with anyone speaking publicly, and accuracy of statement may be severely undermined. . . .. Indeed, the mere fact that the trial is to be televised might render witnesses reluctant to appear and thereby impede the trial as well as the discovery of the truth.
"3. A major aspect of the problem is the additional responsibilities the presence of television places on the trial judge. His job is to make certain that the accused receives a fair trial. This most difficult task requires his undivided attention. . .
"4. Finally, we cannot ignore the impact of courtroom television on the defendant. Its presence is a form of mental — if not physical — harassment, resembling a police line-up or the third degree. The inevitable close-up of his gestures and expressions during the ordeal of his trial might well transgress his personal sensibilities, his dignity, and his ability to concentrate on the proceedings before him — sometimes the difference between life and death — dispassionately, freely and without the distraction of wide public surveillance. A defendant on trial for a specific crime is entitled to his day in court, not in a stadium, or a city or nationwide arena. The heightened public clamor resulting from radio and television coverage will inevitably result in prejudice."cralaw virtua1aw library
In his concurring opinion in Estes, Mr. Justice Harlan opined that live television and radio coverage could have mischievous potentialities for intruding upon the detached atmosphere that should always surround the judicial process. 21
The Integrated Bar of the Philippines, in its Resolution of 16 April 2001, expressed its own concern on the live television and radio coverage of the criminal trials of Mr. Estrada; to paraphrase: Live television and radio coverage can negate the rule on exclusion of witnesses during the hearings intended to assure a fair trial; at stake in the criminal trial is not only the life and liberty of the accused but the very credibility of the Philippine criminal justice system, and live television and radio coverage of the trial could allow the "hooting throng" to arrogate unto themselves the task of judging the guilt of the accused, such that the verdict of the court will be acceptable only if popular; and live television and radio coverage of the trial will not subserve the ends of justice but will only pander to the desire for publicity of a few grandstanding lawyers.
It may not be unlikely, if the minority position were to be adopted, to see protracted delays in the prosecution of cases before trial courts brought about by petitions seeking a declaration of mistrial on account of undue publicity and assailing a court a quo’s action either allowing or disallowing live media coverage of the court proceedings because of supposed abuse of discretion on the part of the judge.
En passant, the minority would view the ponencia as having modified the case law on the matter. Just to the contrary, the Court effectively reiterated its standing resolution of 23 October 1991. Until 1991, the Court had yet to establish the case law on the matter, and when it did in its 23rd October resolution, it confirmed, in disallowing live television and radio coverage of court proceedings, that "the records of the Constitutional Commission (were) bereft of discussion regarding the subject of cameras in the courtroom" and that "Philippine courts (had) not (theretofore) had the opportunity to rule on the question squarely."cralaw virtua1aw library
But were the cases decided by the U.S. courts and cited in the minority opinion really in point?chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary
In Nebraska Press Association v. Stewart, 22 the Nebraska State trial judge issued an order restraining news media from publishing accounts of confession or admissions made by the accused or facts strongly implicating him. The order was struck down. In Richmond Newspaper, Inc., v. Virginia, 23 the trial judge closed the courtroom to the public and all participants except witnesses when they testify. The judge was reversed by the U.S. Supreme Court which ruled that criminal trials were historically open. In Globe Newspaper v. Superior Court, 24 the US Supreme Court voided a Massachusetts law that required trial judges to exclude the press and the public from the courtroom during the testimony of a minor victim of certain sexual offenses.
Justice Stewart, in Chandler v. Florida, 25 where two police officers charged with burglary sought to overturn their conviction before the US Supreme Court upon the ground that the television coverage had infringed their right to fair trial explained that "the constitutional violation perceived by the Estes Court did not stem from the physical disruption that might one day disappear with technological advances in the television equipment but inhered, rather, in the hypothesis that the mere presence of cameras and recording devices might have an effect on the trial participants prejudicial to the accused." 26
Parenthetically, the United States Supreme Court and other federal courts do not allow live television and radio coverage of their proceedings.
The sad reality is that the criminal cases presently involved are of great dimensions so involving as they do a former President of the Republic. It is undeniable that these cases have twice become the nation’s focal points in the two conflicting phenomena of EDSA II and EDSA III where the magnitude of the events has left a still divided nation. Must these events be invited anew and risk the relative stability that has thus far been achieved? The transcendental events in our midst do not allow us to turn a blind eye to yet another possible extraordinary case of mass action being allowed to now creep into even the business of the courts in the dispensation of justice under a rule of law. At the very least, a change in the standing rule of the court contained in its resolution of 23 October 1991 may not appear to be propitious.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary
Unlike other government offices, courts do not express the popular will of the people in any sense which, instead, are tasked to only adjudicate justiciable controversies on the basis of what alone is submitted before them. 27 A trial is not a free trade of ideas. Nor is a competing market of thoughts the known test of truth in a courtroom. 28
The Court is not all that unmindful of recent technological and scientific advances but to chance forthwith the life or liberty of any person in a hasty bid to use and apply them, even before ample safety nets are provided and the concerns heretofore expressed are aptly addressed, is a price too high to pay.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED.
Pardo, Buena, Gonzaga-Reyes and De Leon, Jr., JJ.
, is on leave.
, I concur in the majority opinion of Vitug, J.
, and join the separate opinion of Kapunan J.
, concurring:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
Of course freedom of speech and of the press are essential to the enlightenment of a free people and in restraining those who wield power. Particularly should this freedom be employed in comment upon the work of courts who are without many influences ordinarily making for humor and humility, twin antidotes to the corrosion of power. But the Bill of Rights is not self-destructive. Freedom of expression can hardly carry implications that nullify the guarantees of impartial trials. And since the courts are the ultimate resorts for vindicating the Bill of Rights, a state may surely authorize appropriate historic means to assure that the process for such vindication be not wrenched from its rational tracks into the more primitive mêlée of passion and pressure. The need is great that courts be criticized but just as great that they be allowed to do their duty.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary
— Bridges v. California
314 US 252, 284
In their separate petitions, the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas and the Secretary of Justice Hernando B. Perez would want this Court to allow live radio and television coverage of the court hearings on the plunder and other criminal cases filed against Former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada, Et. Al. pending before the Sandiganbayan.
In support of their request, they invoke the constitutional guarantees on the right of the people to be informed on matters of public concern as well as the freedoms of speech and the press including the right to discuss publicly and truthfully any matter of public concern without censorship:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
x x x
3. The foregoing criminal cases involve the previous acts of the former highest official of the land, members of his family, his cohorts and, therefore, it cannot be over emphasized that the prosecution thereof, definitely involves a matter of public concern and interest, or a matter over which the entire citizenry has the right to know, be informed and made aware of.
4. There is no gainsaying that the constitutional right of the people to be informed on matters of public concern, as in the instant cases, can best be recognized, served and satisfied by allowing the live radio and television coverage of the concomitant court proceedings.
x x x 1
Mr. Estrada, in his Comment on the petitions, expressed his opposition to the proposed live television and radio coverage of his trial arguing that such coverage would be prejudicial to his right to fair trial because radio and television as media can be easily manipulated for propaganda purposes; such coverage will play to the gallery; it may lead to the possibility that the trial court may be ultimately influenced by what sits well with the public; its rulings and decisions may take into account what will please the crowd; it would "allow live play-by-play annotation of the hearings by people on radio and television with varying degrees of expertise and biases, in seeming mockery of the sub judice rule" ; 2 and that "it was the live TV coverage which ignited EDSA II." 3
For its part, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) likewise has taken the stand against the live broadcast coverage of criminal proceedings for the following reasons:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
1. Live TV and radio coverage will negate the rule on exclusion of witnesses during the hearings intended to assure a fair trial.
2. At stake in the criminal trial is not only the life and liberty of the accused but the very credibility of the Philippine criminal justice system. Live TV and radio coverage of the trial will allow the ‘hooting throng’ to arrogate unto themselves the task of judging the guilt or innocence of the accused, such that the verdict of the court will be acceptable only if popular.
3. Live TV and radio coverage of the trial will not subserve the ends of justice but will only pander to the desire for publicity of few grandstanding lawyers. Instead of promoting the ends of justice, live TV and radio coverage will become the very instrument to distract litigants and judges, expose the judges to undue public scrutiny and pressure every step of the way, and undermine the integrity of the Sandiganbayan.
x x x 4
I do not find merit in the petitions.
In a clash between the rights to free speech, free press and of access to information on matters of public concern, and the right to a fair trial, the right of the accused should be the utmost concern of the Court.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary
The instant petitions, if granted, would throw overboard a well-established. policy that considers such live radio and television coverage not only as prejudicial to the defendant’s right to due process, but also as inimical to the fair and orderly administration of justice. In its Resolution, dated October 22, 1991, this Court laid down the guidelines for broadcast media coverage of courtroom trials, to wit:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
. . . Considering the prejudice it poses to the defendant’s right to due process as well as to the fair and orderly administration of justice, and considering further that the freedom of the press and the right of the people to information may be served and satisfied by less distracting, degrading and prejudicial means, live radio and television coverage of court proceedings shall not be allowed. Video footages of court hearings for news purposes shall be restricted and limited to shots of the courtroom, the judicial officers, the parties and their counsel taken prior to the commencement of official proceedings. No video shots or photographs shall be permitted during the trial proper.
The restrictions set forth in our Resolution of October 22, 1991, have remained sound and valid. I cannot find a rational basis to change the rule at this time, simply to suit the prosecution in the cases against Ex-President Estrada.
While the rights to press freedom and to information on matters of public concern are constitutionally protected 5 in acknowledgment of media’s role as a potent catalyst in increasing public awareness and interest in governmental affairs as well as other significant events and occurrences, including court proceedings, 6 and of the importance of the free flow of ideas and information in a democracy, these are not absolute and must be taken hand-in-hand with other public interests. In weighing the freedoms of speech and the press and the right to public information, on one hand, and the right of the accused to a fair trial, on the other, the balance is never weighed against the accused. 7
It must be made clear that there is no curtailment nor substantial diminution of the rights to free press and to information on matters of public concern brought about by the prohibition on live radio and television coverage of court proceedings. These rights remain amply protected even with the existence of such prohibition. In the criminal cases against Mr. Estrada before the Sandiganbayan, the press can still report on the proceedings being conducted therein. Media outfits can send their representatives to the trials and make their reports and comments thereon to their viewers or listeners. What is not allowed is for them to bring inside the courtroom their broadcasting equipment that would tend to hamper the orderly administration of justice. As aptly observed by Chief Justice Warren in his concurring opinion in Estes: 8
Television is one of the great inventions of all time and can perform a large and useful role in society. But the television camera, like other technological innovations, is not entitled to pervade the lives of everyone in disregard of constitutionally protected rights. The television industry, like other institutions, has a proper area of activities and limitations beyond which it cannot go with its cameras. That area does not extend into an [American] courtroom. On entering that hallowed sanctuary, where the lives, liberty and property of people are in jeopardy, television representatives have only the rights of the general public, namely, to be present, to observe the proceedings, and thereafter, if they choose, to report them. 9
It bears emphasizing that the right to a public trial belongs first and foremost to the accused. Said right requires that proceedings be open to the public to ensure that the accused is fairly dealt with and not unjustly condemned. 10 The openness of a trial safeguards against attempts to employ the courts as instruments of persecution since it induces all the participants therein, e.g. judge, lawyers, witnesses, to perform their duties conscientiously, and provides the public with an opportunity to observe the events therein. 11 However, a public trial is not to be equated with a "publicized trial," one characterized by pervasive adverse publicity that violates the accused’s constitutional right to due process.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary
That the live broadcast coverage of the criminal proceedings may undermine the right of the accused to a fair trial cannot be ignored. Undoubtedly, television is one of the most powerful sources of information and news in our society. However, it is also one of the most manipulative. 12 It can, intentionally or inadvertently, destroy an accused and his case in the eyes of the public. 13 It cannot deny the accused of his right to due process, including the right to a fair trial. 14
Television does not simply mirror or reflect events as they unfold. The images transmitted onscreen are the end products of a series of technical modifications employed by television editors and cameramen. Editors may eliminate or cut certain scenes of a trial in order to appeal to a mass audience. Cameramen may also manipulate what the public sees through the use of space, camera angles, lighting, juxtaposition, and editing techniques, thereby limiting the public’s perception of the events being covered. Sadly, the public in general lack an understanding of how these tools work and more often than not fail to realize the distorting effects of these devices executed by an experienced cameraman. 15
The negative effects that live television coverage of criminal proceedings may have thereon may even exceed those resulting from the biases created in the mind of the viewers from watching the images appearing onscreen. It is not unlikely that the television stations may decide that the trial itself does not contain sufficient drama to sustain an audience and thus provide "expert commentary" on the proceedings by hiring persons with legal backgrounds to anticipate possible trial strategy, in the same manner as a basketball expert anticipates plays for his audience. 16 Arguably, this may be beneficial in the sense that the viewing public is offered guidance in understanding the events that transpire at a court proceeding. However, it cannot be denied that such live commentaries may intensify the biases shaped by the images of the trial on television, or worse, create wrong impressions in the viewers’ minds. The same might also subvert our sub judice rule that media should refrain from publishing or airing comments regarding a pending case.
The transmission of edited images on television or the accompanying commentaries are not the only possible sources of bias which may unduly influence the outcome of a trial. The mere presence of the television camera inside the courtroom also inevitably affects the proceedings being covered for television can work profound changes in the behavior of the people it focuses on. 17
A study explained the effects of the presence television cameras inside the courtroom on the witnesses in this wise:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
The marketing consciousness of witnesses increases with the awareness of being on national or global television. There is a risk that a witness will alter his story in order to appeal to the television audience instead of fulfilling his evidentiary role. His testimony becomes more important for its entertainment value which may cause embellishment of certain aspects of his testimony. Many people dream of becoming a celebrity, and for many witnesses, this may be their only opportunity to shine in the limelight. This consciousness poses a danger of improper and inaccurate testimony. . . . 18
Even the behavior of lawyers may be influenced by the fact that their case is being covered by live television:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
In addition, cameras pose a risk that lawyers will modify their roles. In a televised trial, the public becomes an extrajudicial audience that they must persuade. Lawyers may become preoccupied with the cameras which interferes with their devoting full attention to the fact-finder at trial. As a result, some-lawyers direct at least part of their case to the television viewers instead of fully representing their clients to the presiding judge and the jury. Lawyers are motivated to present themselves well in they eyes of the public. In a highly televised trial, the marketing consciousness of lawyers may be affected. There is a danger that the media’s production of the trial may transform into an excellent opportunity for the lawyers to gain free personal advertisement. 19
The presence of television cameras inside the courtroom also places additional responsibilities on the trial judge. In addition to his duties of listening to the testimonies of the witnesses, receiving documentary and object evidence, ruling on motions and objections and ensuring that the accused receives a fair trial, he must also supervise the television crew present in his courtroom 20 to make sure that they do not disrupt the proceedings. Even the behavior of the judges themselves may be unduly influenced by such media presence, for although they are supposed to be more impervious to external pressures with respect to the cases pending before them, they still experience the same psychological reactions as laymen.
Judges and justices are also human beings. They cannot remain oblivious to the pressures that media can bear on them both directly and in the shaping of public opinion. Thus, any occasion that would give the impression that in rendering judgment, the judge was swayed by public opinion or any other factor extraneous to the evidence at hand should be avoided. As Chief Justice Taft in Tumey v. Ohio 21 eloquently put it:chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary
. . . the requirement of due process of law in judicial procedure is not satisfied by the argument that men of the highest honor and the greatest self-sacrifice could carry it on without danger of injustice. Every procedure which would offer a possible temptation to the average man . . . to forget the burden of proof required to convict the defendant, or which might lead him not to hold the balance nice, clear and true between the State and the accused, denies the latter due process of law. 22
Further, the negative impact of live broadcast media coverage of the trial on the accused is not inconsequential:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
. . . Its presence is a form of mental — if not physical — harassment, resembling a police line-up or the third degree. The inevitable close-ups of his gestures and expressions during the ordeal of his trial might well transgress his personal sensibilities, his dignity, and his ability to concentrate on the proceedings before him — sometimes the difference between life and death — dispassionately, freely and without the distraction of wide public surveillance. A defendant on trial for a specific crime is entitled to his day in court, not in a stadium, or a city or nationwide arena. . . 23
There are those who believe that live media coverage would enhance the fair and orderly administration of justice. However, this belief ignores the fact that the behavior of the participants of the proceedings, e.g., lawyers and witnesses, may be unnaturally affected by their knowledge that their actions and testimonies are recorded on live television and radio. This was particularly observed by a law professor in the O.J. Simpson criminal trial in the United States:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
Within the Simpson criminal trial, most of the media’s participant-observer glitches were attributable to the real-time electronic media broadcast of the proceedings on a gavel-to-gavel basis, especially by television camera. As Ellis Cose opined, "Many journalists and others idealistically believed that televised trials would enhance the quality of justice and increase general knowledge about the courts by providing public oversight not previously available. Unfortunately, this was not the case. Television did not deter lying witnesses; instead it rendered many truthful ones nervous and inarticulate.
Television provided the temptation, and the opportunity, for media-savvy lawyers and a media-conscious judge to sell their respective cases not merely to the jury, but literally to the world. The camera in this case and in this courtroom proved to be a world class platform for rhetorician, a snare for the unwary, a seducer and mirror to the vain, an indiscriminate and often harsh recorder of humor, wit, guile, trickery, and lies, and the transmitter to the world of both excellent and poor lawyering on both sides. 24
It is argued that the ruling in Estes v. Texas 25 that radio and television coverage infringes upon the accused’s right to a fair trial has been abandoned in Chandler v. Florida 26 where the U.S. Supreme Court said:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
An absolute constitutional ban on broadcast coverage of trials cannot be justified simply because there is a danger that, in some cases, prejudicial broadcast accounts of pre-trial and trial events may impair the ability of jurors to decide the issue of guilt or innocence uninfluenced by extraneous matter. The risk of juror prejudice in some cases does not justify an absolute ban on news coverage of trials by the printed media; so also the risk of such prejudice does not warrant an absolute constitutional ban on all broadcast coverage. The appropriate safeguard against such prejudice is the defendant’s right to demonstrate that the media’s coverage of his case — be it printed or broadcast — compromised the ability of the particular jury that heard the case to adjudicate fairly. 27
It should be pointed out that there are no television cameras permitted in federal courts in the United States 28 despite experiments with their use. In contrast, there is no constitutional impediment to the use of television cameras in state courts, provided they do not distract the jurors and witnesses, or unduly burden the judge, thereby depriving the defendant of a fair trial. 29
It is evident that our policy banning live radio and television coverage of criminal proceedings is the same as that provided in U.S. federal courts. There is no convincing reason that the practice in some state courts is better than that followed in the federal courts concerning the banning of such radio and television coverage.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary
In any event, Chandler would necessarily imply that if the defendant’s right to fair trial is compromised by the broadcast coverage, then the ban should be imposed. Here, the fears expressed by Mr. Estrada and the IBP should live radio and television be allowed to cover his trial are not without bases. The pervasive radio and television coverage of Mr. Estrada’s impeachment hearing and of his arrest appear to have moved the crowd to march in the so-called EDSA II and EDSA III mass actions that toppled a government and tried to topple another.
With due respect, I doubt the efficacy of the measures suggested by the dissenting opinions to ensure fair trial in a criminal proceeding covered by live radio and television. These are: (1) no witness can be compelled to have his testimony televised; (2) the cameras and other equipment must be placed in the courtroom in such a manner as to be unobtrusive, possibly only a single fixed camera be installed in the courtroom to feed the broadcast stations; (3) no film, videotape, photography and audio reproductions may be used for advertising and commercial purposes, and (4) the radio and television broadcasters should give a balanced coverage of the prosecution and the defense. 30
It is not merely the obtrusive location in the courtroom of the cameras or their effects on the decorum, solemnity and dignity of the court that impinges on the accused’s right to a fair trial. It is the beaming of or transmission of all events, testimonies and faces inside the courtroom directly to the viewing public, including, the milling crowd outside the court’s premises, coupled with the running accounts of the proceedings by the radio and television networks, which may be slanted or distorted by bias, self-interests and hate, thus whipping up passion and rage among the viewers, that offends the right of the accused to a fair trial. Depending upon the mood of the crowd, whether approving or threatening, witnesses may exaggerate, hesitate, backtrack or cower.
The judge has no immediate-control over how the film, videotapes, etc. are used, whether for advertising or commercial purposes, although he may later on impose sanctions for their misuse, but then the deleterious effects to a fair trial are beyond recall.
Further, how can the court enforce guidelines that radio and television broadcasts should give a balanced coverage of the prosecution and the defense? Even if the courts rulings over the proposed guidelines are promptly made, they are subject to appeal, thus possibly delaying the court proceedings over collateral matters. And even if the trial should proceed and the accused convicted pending appeal on the court’s rulings, the accused may seek the reversal of said conviction on the ground of mistrial due to the deprivation of his right to due process. The damage then to all concerned is irreparable.
I believe that the present prohibition on the live radio and television coverage of court proceedings strikes the balance between the rights to free speech and press and to information on matters of public concern, and the accused’s right to a fair trial, and remains to be the practical rule on the matter.
Finally, as I have earlier stressed, recent history has shown that television broadcasts of significant national events have a strong tendency to incite pent-up emotions and feelings of an emotional populace. Undeniably, the events that occurred on January 16, 2001 which led to the abrupt conclusion of Mr. Estrada’s impeachment trial, witnessed by thousands of viewers on their television screens, triggered EDSA II. In the same manner, the broadcast coverage of Mr. Estrada’s arrest caused pro-Estrada groups to express their outrage at EDSA III.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary
It is not unlikely that the televised coverage of Mr. Estrada’s trial would induce either or both of these groups to again resort to demonstrations aimed at pressuring the Sandiganbayan to come up with a verdict favorable to them. Any attempt to pressure or interfere with the judicial process should be avoided, for court proceedings are not like elections, to be won through the use of the meeting hall, the radio, and the newspaper. 31 The nature of judicial proceedings requires that the conclusions to be reached in a case will be induced only by evidence, and argument in open court, and not by any outside influence. 32
Our nation has only begun the reconciliation process between the pro- and anti-Estrada groups. Broadcasting Mr. Estrada’s trial would only ignite the spark that brought forth EDSA II and EDSA III and resurrect the division between these groups.
I vote to DENY the petitions.
, concurring:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
The ponencia of Mr. Justice Jose C. Vitug, and that of Mr. Justice Santiago M. Kapunan, to which I concur, easily join the rank of the well-written opinions in Constitutional law. Incisive in their analysis, realistic in their approach, and instructive in their rationalization, there is so much in them to which any concurrence may easily yield.
Enshrined in our Constitution is the mandate that" [N]o person shall be deprived of his life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the law." 1 This stands as a guaranty to every man’s civil liberties regardless of his race, sex, character, station in life, and reputation. 2
I believe that to allow the live television coverage of Mr. Joseph Ejercito Estrada’s trial in the Sandiganbayan will violate his right to equal protection of the law, to due process and to a fair and impartial hearing. Not even the other constitutionally-guaranteed rights, such as the right of the people to information on matters of public concern, to free speech and to a free press, can serve as more weighty justifications.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary
Equal protection is afforded in a criminal proceeding where the trial is conducted fairly and impartially in the same manner and under the same procedure as all other people are tried within the state. 3 In the myriad of criminal cases that passed our trial courts, this is only the second time that the issue of the propriety of a televised trial is directly raised. In the first instance, this Court prohibited the live radio and television coverage of a criminal proceeding in order to protect the parties’ right to due process, to prevent the distraction of the proceedings and to avoid a miscarriage of justice. 4 I see no reason why the case of Mr. Estrada should be treated differently.
I do not discount the claim of the proponents of the televised trial that the people has the right to information on matters of public concern. But I am convinced that such right cannot be given preference over the right of an accused to a fair and impartial trial. To my mind, the fair administration of criminal justice cannot be subordinated to the people’s right to information, particularly in the present case, where what at stake is the life of an individual.
The job of the judiciary is not to teach the public of its inner workings but to preserve fairness within the system. 5 No empirical evidence exists which indicates that televised criminal proceedings broaden the public’s understanding of the judiciary. 6 The New York University conducted a study following an enactment of legislation prescribing an eighteen-month experimental period of televising criminal trials. 7 The results indicated that viewing criminal trials had virtually no effect on the level of the public understanding of even the most rudimentary aspects of court proceedings.
The fact that the accused held the highest position in the land is significant. As a matter of fact, his stature strongly justifies the denial of the request for a televised trial. To be sure, even before the camera starts moving, the case would have already achieved a sensational status. When a case is sensationalized, there is a greater difficulty in safeguarding the rights of the accused, particularly, his right to due process, which basically requires that the court trying the case should be impartial, 8 free from outside pressure and interference. The presence of news media can deny a defendant that" judicial serenity and calm" which due process of law guarantees. This should not be allowed. Every person accused of a crime is entitled to a fair and impartial trial in which his legal rights are protected, 9 that is, a trial of facts, in accordance with the law and the evidence before an unbiased tribunal, in an atmosphere free from harmful error and from any extraneous influence that might be to his prejudice. The Supreme Court of the United States gives this right a ringing tone of support in its numerous decisions. Thus, in Irvin v. Dowd, 10 the defendant was convicted of murder following intensive and hostile news coverage. On review, the Court vacated the conviction and death sentence and remanded the case to the court a quo to allow a new trial for" [w]ith his life at stake, it is not requiring too much that petitioner be tried in an atmosphere undisturbed by so huge a wave of public passion . . ." Similarly. in Rideau v. Lousiana 11 , the Court reversed the conviction of a defendant whose staged, highly emotional confession had been filmed with the cooperation of local police and later broadcast on television for three days while he was awaiting trial holding:" [a]ny subsequent court proceedings in a community so pervasively exposed to such a spectacle could be but a hallow formality."cralaw virtua1aw library
In Estes v. Texas, 12 the Court ruled that the defendant had not been afforded due process where the volume of trial publicity, the judge’s failure to control the proceedings, the telecast of the hearing and the trial itself "inherently prevented a sober search for the truth." It was further held that the televising of "notorious" criminal trials is prohibited by the "due process of law." 13 Justice Harlan, supplying the winning vote, agreed but only because the Estes trial was one of" great notoriety." He made clear that he would reserve judgment on more routine cases. 14
In Sheppard v. Maxwell, 15 with only Mr. Justice Black dissenting, the Court ordered a new trial for the petitioner, even though the first trial had occurred 12 years before. The Court noted that "unfair and prejudicial news comment on pending trial has become increasingly prevalent" and issued a strong warning, thus:chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary
". . . Due process requires that the accused receive a trial by an impartial jury free from outside influences. Given the pervasiveness of modern communications and the difficulty of effacing prejudicial publicity from the minds of the jurors, the trial courts must take strong measures to ensure that the balance is never weighed against the accused. . . . If publicity during the proceedings threatens the fairness of the trial, a new trial should be ordered. But we must remember that reversals are but palliatives; the cure lies in those remedial measures that will prevent the prejudice at its inception. The courts must take such steps by rule and regulation that will protect their processes from prejudicial outside interference. Neither prosecutors, counsel for defense, the accused, witnesses, court staff nor enforcement officers coming under the jurisdiction of the court should be permitted to frustrate its function. Collaboration between the counsel and the press as to information affecting the fairness of a criminal trial is not only subject to regulation, but is highly censurable and worthy of disciplinary measures." (Emphasis supplied
In KPNX Broadcasting Co. v. Arizona Superior Court, 16 the said US Supreme Court ruled that courts "may insist that the only performance which goes on in the courtroom is the trial of the case at hand." The Court said further that "the fact that media coverage has transformed events such as professional sports contests into a framework designed to accommodate that coverage does not mean that the First Amendment requires criminal trials to undergo the same transformation." In reaching these conclusions, the Court addressed the importance of a trial with no outside distractions. While the Court recognizes the media’s right to freedom of the press within the First Amendment, it also recognizes the right of a court to close its doors. The Court condemns the transformation of a criminal trial into a spectacle created by intense media coverage.
In the Philippines, the legal aspect of prejudicial publicity through television has not yet been fully considered. To reiterate, the last time this Court directly came across with such an issue was on October 22, 1991, in "Re: Live TV and Radio Coverage of the Hearing of President Corazon C. Aquino’s Libel Case." Relying on Rule 53 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure and the case of Estes v. Texas, this Court issued an En Banc Resolution on the said date prohibiting the live radio and television coverage of court proceedings.
I see no justification to modify the said Resolution. It was relevant then as it is now.
Moreover, to allow media coverage of the Estrada trial would be to open a veritable Pandora’s box of afflictions which will stymie the judiciary’s efforts to make certain that the administration of justice is effected with equanimity, speed and judiciousness. To be sure, our ruling will apply to all lower courts, including the Sandiganbayan and the Court of Appeals. Therefore, we should not be overly swayed by the passing passions generated by the Estrada cases into promulgating a doctrine which this Court will rue in its supervision of lower courts and in the exercise of its own original and appellate jurisdiction.
Assuming that this Court authorizes the desired media coverage, will it be fair to the Sandiganbayan Justices concerned to subject them to the massive and unfair scolding of what Estrada’s counsel calls "a by and large hostile and at times cruel media?" Criticism and ridicule will likely arise from members of the media unfamiliar with the technical rules of the legal profession.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary
I submit that live TV coverage will not assist the Sandiganbayan in its duty to be temperate, attentive and impartial during the proceedings. Quite the contrary, live TV coverage will divert the attention of the Sandiganbayan from the testimonies of witnesses and serious arguments of counsel, thus affecting the court’s understanding of the case.
The same adverse effects are true insofar as the lawyers are concerned. The Integrated Bar of the Philippines states that live coverage will only pander to the desire for publicity of a few grandstanding lawyers. Ever conscious of the instant public reaction, the Sandiganbayan may hesitate to correct the highly unprofessional conduct of a popular attorney.
More importantly, the general public is unaware of procedural rules. If the Sandiganbayan’s rulings are adverse to their expectations, this may start another massive action which may culminate to an "EDSA IV." Needless to state, the effects are disastrous to the nation.
In sum, the theory that televising the trial ensures that justice is served is not true. With intense coverage, the media becomes less of a defensive force against injustice and more of an offensive force by intimidating witnesses, distracting the lawyers and distorting the unfolding drama in the courtroom. 17 It gives rise to prejudiced opinion and publicity and creates bias and sometimes confusion among the people. All these factors definitely render the accused’s right to a fair and impartial trial illusory. Thus, until and unless the media can secure the rights of the accused and eliminate all the adverse effects, specifically on the general public, the television should remain outside the courtroom.
, dissenting:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
On March 13, 2001, the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas, thru its President, Mr. Ruperto S. Nichanrobles.com.ph:red
o, Jr., wrote to Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr., "to be allowed the privileged (sic) of covering the anticipated trials in the Sandiganbayan of the plunder cases against former President Joseph E. Estrada." On April 3, 2001, the Court, among others, required Presiding Justice Francis E. Garchitorena of the Sandiganbayan to comment on the request.
On April 5, 2001, Mr. Cesar N. Sarino wrote a similar letter to the Chief Justice requesting." . . the Supreme Court to allow live television coverage of the trial" of former President Estrada. On April 16, 2001, Senator Renato Cayetano also prayed for the live coverage by media of the said trial subject to the conditions that the Supreme Court may impose. On the same date, the integrated Bar of the Philippines, thru its President, Arthur D. Lim, opposed the live radio-TV coverage of said trial.
On April 17, 2001, Secretary of Justice Hernando B. Perez also filed a petition "for live radio and television coverage" of the said cases "subject to whatever guidelines the Honorable Supreme Court may provide under the premises. The petition carried the conformity of the Honorable Aniano A. Desierto, Ombudsman. On April 24, 2001, the same request for live media coverage was made by a group of businessmen led by Atty. Ricardo Romulo of the Makati Business Club.
On April 30, 2001, Presiding Justice Garchitorena submitted his Comment. He informed the Court that he sought the opinion of the other members of the Sandiganbayan. He stated that six (6) of the Justices of the Sandiganbayan were against the radio-TV coverage while eight (8) were in favor. He submitted their varying views for the consideration of this Court.
On May 4, 2001, the Court required former President Estrada to comment on the petition of the Secretary of Justice. On May 21, 2001 former President Estrada, thru counsel, opposed the petition for live radio-TV coverage of his trials in the Sandiganbayan. He cited the need to preserve the rule of law and warned that "radio and television as media can be easily manipulated for propaganda purposes." He alleged that "the communicative effect of live TV and radio coverage is much greater than print coverage" and "the freedom of television and radio broadcasting is somewhat lesser in scope than the freedom accorded in newspaper and print media." The opposition was fortified by a Supplemental Comment filed on May 30, 2001.
The Court’s en banc resolution of October 22, 1991 absolutely prohibits live TV and radio coverage of court hearings. Its rationale is explained, thus:chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary
"While we take notice of the September 1990 report of the United States Judicial Conference Ad Hoc Committee on Cameras in the Courtroom, still the current rule obtaining in the Federal Courts of the United States prohibits the presence of television cameras in criminal trials. Rule 53 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure forbids the taking of photographs during the progress of judicial proceedings or radio broadcasting of such proceedings from the courtroom. A trial of any kind or in any court is a matter of serious importance to all concerned and should not be treated as a means of entertainment. To so treat it deprives the court of the dignity which pertains to it and departs from the orderly and serious quest for truth for which our judicial proceedings are formulated.
Courts do not discriminate against radio and television media by forbidding the broadcasting or televising of a trial while permitting the newspaper reporter access to the courtroom, since a television or news reporter has the same privilege, as the news reporter is not permitted to bring his typewriter or printing press into the courtroom.
In Estes v. Texas, the United States Supreme Court held that television coverage of judicial proceedings involves an inherent denial of the due process rights of a criminal defendant. Voting 5-4, the Court through Mr. Justice Clark, identified four (4) areas of potential prejudice which might arise from the impact of the cameras on the jury, witnesses, the trial judge and the defendant. The decision in part pertinently stated:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
‘Experience likewise has established the prejudicial effect of telecasting on witnesses. Witnesses might be frightened, play to the camera, or become nervous. They are subject to extraordinary out-of-court influences which might affect their testimony. Also, telecasting not only increases the trial judge’s responsibility to avoid actual prejudice to the defendant, it may as well affect his own performance. Judges are human beings also and are subject to the same psychological reactions as laymen. For the defendant, telecasting is a form of mental harassment and subjects him to excessive public exposure and distracts him from the effective presentation of his defense.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary
The television camera is a powerful weapon which intentionally or inadvertently can destroy an accused and his case in the eyes of the public.’
Representatives of the press have no special standing to apply for a writ of mandate (sic) to compel a court to permit them to attend a trial, since within the courtroom a reporter’s constitutional rights are no greater than those of any other member of the public. Massive intrusion of representatives of the news media into the trial itself can so alter or destroy the constitutionally necessary judicial atmosphere and decorum that the requirements of impartiality Imposed by due process of law are denied the defendant and a defendant in a criminal proceeding should not be forced to run a gauntlet of reporters and photographers each time he enters or leaves the courtroom.
Considering the prejudice it poses to the defendant’s right to due process as well as to the fair and orderly administration of justice, and considering further that the freedom of the press and the right of the people to information may be served and satisfied by less distracting, degrading and prejudicial means, live radio and television coverage of court proceedings shall not be allowed. Video footages of court hearings for news purposes shall be restricted and limited to shots of the courtroom, the judicial officers, the parties and their counsel taken prior to the commencement of official proceedings. No video shots or photographs shall be permitted during the trial proper." (Emphasis supplied
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In banning live radio and television coverage of criminal proceedings, the Court stressed that it weighed "the constitutional guarantees of freedom of the press, the right of the public to information and the right to public trial on one hand, and on the other hand, the due process rights of the defendant and the inherent and constitutional power of the courts to control their proceedings in order to permit the fair and impartial administration of justice." It also considered "the nature of media, particularly television and its role in society and of the impact of new technologies on law."cralaw virtua1aw library
After the lapse of ten (10) years, I respectfully submit that the 1991 resolution of this Court absolutely banning live radio and television coverage of criminal proceedings should be re-examined to re-adjust the balance between a free press and a fair trial in light of the continuing progress in communications technology and to expand the right of access of the press and the public to information without, however, impairing the right of an accused to due process.
Estes case has been modified by subsequent cases
Estes v. Texas, 1 the linchpin of this Court’s 1991 resolution is a 1965 decision where the US Supreme Court first resolved the prejudicial effects of in-court camera to the right of an accused to due process of law. In a 5-4 decision, the conviction of the accused Estes was set aside in light of the factual finding that television coverage infringed his right to fair trial. It found that during the preliminary hearing, "cables and wires were snaked across the courtroom floor, three microphones were on the judge’s bench and others were beamed at the jury box and the counsel’s table." 2 The Court considered the circus-like atmosphere created by media as incongruous to the due process right of the accused. The Estes decision resulted in most of the states completely banning cameras in the courtroom but a few others experimented with the cameras and subjected their use to strict guidelines. Among the states that experimented was Florida. 3
In 1981, the Florida rules allowing television coverage of criminal trials were challenged in Chandler v. Florida. 4 The case involved a charge of burglary against two police officers of Miami Beach. Over objections of the two accused, their trial was televised and they were convicted. On appeal, they contended that the TV coverage infringed their right to fair trial. The US Supreme Court, through Chief Justice Burger, affirmed their conviction. It held that the appellants "did not present empirical data sufficient to establish that the mere presence of the broadcast media inherently has an adverse effect on that process." 5 It ruled that appellants failed to prove specific prejudice. Chief Justice Burger observed that since the Estes case, technological progress had allowed media to minimize the disruptive effects of cameras in the courtroom. The Court concluded:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"An absolute constitutional ban on broadcast coverage of trials cannot be justified simply because there is a danger that, in some cases, prejudicial broadcast accounts of pre-trial and trial events may impair the ability of jurors to decide the issue of guilt or innocence uninfluenced by extraneous matter. The risk of juror prejudice in some cases does not justify an absolute ban on news coverage of trials by the printed media; so also the risk of such prejudice does not warrant an absolute constitutional ban on all broadcast coverage. The appropriate safeguard against such prejudice is the defendant’s right to demonstrate that the media’s coverage of his case — be it printed or broadcast — compromised the ability of the particular jury that heard the case to adjudicate fairly." 6 (Emphasis supplied
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After Estes, the US Supreme Court in a series of landmark cases also struck the proper balance between freedom of the press and restrictions on media’s access to courtrooms vis-a-vis the right of an accused to fair trial. The first significant case is the 1976 case of Nebraska Press Association v. Stewart. 7 In this case, the accused was charged with six (6) counts of murder. The Nebraska state trial judge issued an order restraining the press from reporting, inter alia, on the following subjects: the existence and contents of the accused’s confession; the nature of his statements to other persons; and the contents of a note written by the accused on the night of the crime. Reviewing the order, the US Supreme Court held that when imposing a prior restraint on publication, a trial judge must examine" (a) the nature and extent of pre-trial news coverage; (b) whether other measures would be likely to mitigate the effects of unrestrained pre-trial publicity; and (c) how effectively a restraining order would operate to prevent the threatened danger." 8 It held that "pre-trial publicity — even pervasive, adverse publicity — does not inevitably lead to an unfair trial." 9 It affirmed the right of the press to publish information concerning court proceedings even as it held that trial judges have the major responsibility to protect the accused’s right to a fair trial. 10
In 1980, the US Supreme Court decided Richmond Newspapers, Inc. v. Virginia, 11 a murder case where the accused’s motion that the courtroom be closed to the public was granted by the trial judge. Richmond Newspapers moved to vacate the order but its motion was denied both by the trial court and the Virginia Supreme Court. On certiorari
, the US Supreme Court reversed. Writing the plurality opinion, Chief Justice Burger held that criminal trials were historically open; that there is an implicit right of access to criminal trials under the first amendment guarantees of free press, free speech and freedom of assembly and the right to publish would be negated if the press was denied access to a trial. He also opined that for the justice system to work, the system must satisfy the appearance of justice, which is best provided by allowing people to observe the judicial process. 12 Be that as it may, he stressed that media’s right of access is not absolute but subject to limitations. 13
In 1982 came the case of Globe Newspaper Co. v. Superior Court, 14 where the US Supreme Court reviewed a Massachusetts law that required trial judges to exclude the press and the public from the courtroom during the testimony of a minor victim of certain sexual offenses. Writing for the majority, Justice Brennan voided the law on the ground that it violated the first amendment. Again, the court emphasized that criminal trials have been historically open to the public and that access to trial allows for public scrutiny of the judicial process, which in turn enhances the integrity of the fact-finding process. 15 The Court again stressed that the right of access is not absolute. 16
Objection as to ill effect on dignity and decorum has long receded
The Court resolution of 1991 absolutely banning televised trial was also premised on the disruptive effect of cameras on the dignity and decorum in the courtroom. It should be noted, however, that this debasement of dignity and decorum argument relied upon in Estes was due to the intolerable physical disturbances caused by annoying equipment, cables, lighting and unsophisticated technicians in the decade of the sixties. With the quantum leap in communications technology in the last twenty (20) years, TV cameras are now less intrusive and disruptive. Indeed, various states have imposed rules successfully regulating whatever interference cameras may have on the dignity and decorum of judicial proceedings. Maryland, for example, has clear rules setting down the technical requirements for television and still cameras and photographers, types of microphones to be used, noise limitations, placement in courtroom and restrictions on movement of personnel and equipment. 17 More progress in audio-visual technology can be expected in the immediate future and this objection that TV cameras in the courtroom will create chaos in judicial proceedings will just be a part of the museum of history. 18chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary
An overwhelming majority of the states now allow radio-TV coverage of criminal trials.
The absolute ban against radio-TV coverage of criminal trial has now been lifted in majority of the states in the United States. After the 1965 decision in Estes, and for eleven (11) years, all 19 the states prohibited TV coverage of criminal trials. 20 By 1978, however, six (6) states — Alabama, Colorado, Georgia, New Hampshire, Texas and Washington allowed televised trials, twelve (12) states — Alaska, California, Florida, Idaho, Louisiana, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, West Virginia and Wisconsin — permitted televised trial on an experimental basis. 21 After the decision in Chandler, forty-seven (47) states now allow television coverage. 22 Only three (3) states ban cameras in the courtroom — New York, South Dakota and Mississippi. 23
Television is today 24 arguably the most powerful medium of communication. Its communicative influence is qualitatively different and is distinctively unique. For this reason and more, there is clear growing body of literature from known legal scholars postulating that an absolute ban on televised trials constitutes a violation of the press and public right of access.25cralaw:red
The principal arguments favoring televised trial are well laid out and can hardly be refuted.
Firstly, an open trial has a great value. In Press Enterprise v. Superior Court, 26 it was underscored:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"The value of openness lies in the fact that people not actually attending trials can have confidence that standards of fairness are being observed; the sure knowledge that anyone is free to attend gives assurance that established procedures are being followed and that deviations will become known. Openness thus enhances both the basic fairness of the criminal trial and the appearance of fairness so essential to public confidence in the system." (Emphasis supplied
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In Richmond Newspaper, 27 it was rightly out that openness is more important in the trial of high profile cases because of its prophylactic effect, viz:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"When a shocking crime occurs, a community reaction of outrage and public protest often follows . . . Thereafter, the open processes of justice serve an important prophylactic purpose, providing an outlet for community concern, hostility and emotion. Without an awareness that society’s responses to criminal conduct are underway, natural human reactions of outrage and protest are frustrated and may manifest themselves in some form of vengeful "self help," as indeed they did regularly in the activities of vigilante "committees" on our frontiers. . . It is not enough to say that results will alone will satiate the natural community desire for "satisfaction." A result considered untoward may undermine public confidence, and where trial has been concealed from public view an unexpected outcome can cause a reaction that the system at best has failed and at worst has been corrupted. To work effectively, it is important that society’s criminal process "satisfy the appearance of justice." . . and the appearance of justice can best be provided by allowing people to observe it." (Emphasis supplied
Without doubt, television can convey more completely and accurately the substance and subtleties of judicial proceedings to the public. As pointedly observed by Gardner, "unlike the print medium, television has the capability to cover a trial in its entirety — every word, every sentence and every gesture." 28 Thus, it has been perceptively opined that the "pervasiveness of television makes a superior device to disseminate information about a trial." 29
Second. It is a truism that an educated, enlightened and vigilant citizenry makes democracy works. The need for the citizenry to comprehend how its government fulfills its task of efficiently serving the people cannot be overemphasized. Again, Richmond emphasized the educative effect of televised trials to the people, viz:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"When a criminal trial is conducted in the open, there is at least an opportunity both for understanding the system in general and its workings in a particular case. The educative effect of public attendance is a material advantage. Not only is respect for the law increased and intelligent acquaintance acquired with the methods of government, but a strong confidence on judicial remedies is secured which could never have been inspired by a system of secrecy." 30 (Emphasis supplied
Of the three branches of government, the judiciary is the least known to the public because its nature does not allow total transparency. Thus, testimonies which can compromise national security are given in closed sessions, court deliberations are traditionally not open to the public, etc. Public, open trials of criminal cases under regulated conditions furnish rare opportunities for the people to understand and appreciate the business of the courts. In the same vein, they give the courts the chance to gain the people’s faith and confidence on the system of justice. As well put by Justice Frankfurter, "the public confidence in the judiciary hinges on the public’s perception of it, and that perception necessarily hinges on the media’s portrayal of the legal system. 31
Third. In a very informative article, Lassiter has revealed that empirical studies show that cameras in the courtroom do not have any negative effect on judicial proceedings, viz: 32
"Several states have conducted studies on the potential impact of electronic media coverage on courtroom proceedings, particularly focusing on the effect cameras have upon courtroom decorum and upon witnesses, jurors, attorneys and judges. In all of these states, the courts permitted electronic media coverage in both civil and criminal proceedings, although the majority of coverage was in criminal cases. The results from the state studies were unanimous: the impact of electronic media coverage of courtroom proceedings, whether civil or criminal, shows few side effects.
In September 1990, the Judicial Conference of the United States implemented what was to be a three year pilot program that permitted electronic media coverage in civil proceedings in six federal district courts and two circuit courts. The Federal Evaluation indicated, among other things, that:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
• overall, attitudes of judges towards electronic media were neutral and became more favorable after experience under the experimental program;chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary
• generally, judges and attorneys who had experience with electronic media coverage reported observing small or no effects on camera presence on proceedings participants, courtroom decorum, or the administration of justice;
• overall, judges and court personnel reported that the media were very cooperative and complied with program guidelines and other restrictions that were imposed.
Indeed, the Federal Judicial Center’s "Summary of Findings" concluded that no negative impact resulted from having cameras in the courtroom. In 1994, the Federal Judicial Center specifically found that results from state court evaluations of the effects of electronic media on jurors and witnesses indicate that most respondents believe electronic media presence has minimal or no detrimental effects on jurors or witnesses. As with the handful of state surveys, the federal survey found that" [m]ost participants [say] electronic media presence has no or minimal detrimental effects on jurors or witnesses." (Emphasis supplied
Fourth. Televised trial helps the press fulfill its role of exposing miscarriage of justice. In Sheppard v. Maxwell, 33 the Court acknowledged this checking power of the press when it held that "the press does not simply publish information about trials but guards against the miscarriage of justice by subjecting the police, prosecutors and judicial processes to extensive public scrutiny and criticism."cralaw virtua1aw library
It should, however, be stressed that televising trial is still not without its danger to the constitutional right of an accused to fair trial. Today, the greatest of these remaining dangers is its adverse effect on the right of the accused to have access to evidence, a right firmly anchored on the constitutional rights to compulsory process and due process. Doubtless, the presence of television in the courtroom can affect a witness. The accuracy of his testimony may be compromised. His physical demeanor, so important to trial judges to determine his credibility, may become less natural under the klieglight. More importantly, the fear of too much public exposure may cause reticent witnesses not to testify. Any of these circumstances will prejudice the right of an accused to a fair trial just as it will frustrate the discovery of truth which is the objective of judicial trial. But these probable dangers are not insurmountable as other jurisdictions have demonstrated that they can be minimized if not avoided by appropriate rules regulating televised trials. An example will be a rule which will not compel the televised testimony of any witness for the accused upon his objection thereto. Such a rule will also meet the objection that cameras in the courtroom cause psychological intimidation to witnesses.
On a case to case basis, televising criminal trials should be addressed to the sound discretion of the trial judge.
Live radio-TV coverage of a criminal trial cannot be demanded as a matter of right but its absolute denial is also constitutionally suspect. It is therefore respectfully submitted that the matter of whether or not the proceedings in a criminal trial should be televised, totally or partially, should be addressed to the sound discretion of the trial judge on a case to case basis. The exercise of this discretion will depend on the facts of each case and will involve the delicate balancing of the constitutional right of the accused to fair trial and due process of law, the press and the public right of access to trials in criminal cases, the right of the state to prosecute crimes effectively and the duty of courts to ensure the fair and orderly administration of justice. To be able to reasonably exercise his discretion, the trial judge has to hear a party’s motion seeking to televise the proceedings or any portion thereof to determine, among others, the standing of the movant, the factual and legal bases of his asserted right and the opposition thereto.. No witness, especially a witness for the accused, upon his written objection, should be compelled to have his testimony televised. In balancing the above rights, the judge should deny the motion to televise trial upon specific proof of prejudice and of reasonable likelihood that the right to fair trial of the accused will be endangered.
Additionally, it shall be the duty of the trial judge to provide and impose the necessary rules and regulations to assure that the televised trial will not detract from the solemnity, decorum and dignity of the court. Among others, the rules and regulations should insure that: (1) the television cameras and related equipments must be unobtrusive, must not produce distracting sounds and shall not in any manner interfere with the proceedings; (2) the media representatives shall present a neat appearance in keeping with the dignity of the proceedings and should not move unnecessarily about the court while it is in session; (3) no film; videotape, photography and audio reproductions may be used for advertising or commercial purpose; (4) only a single fixed camera set-up shall be installed in the courtroom and the audio-video output of the fixed set-up will be fed only to broadcast stations to avoid too many photographers and TV camera crew in the courtroom; and (5) that radio-television broadcasters should give a balanced coverage of the prosecution and the defense. The trial judged should be given the power at any time to terminative the televised proceedings upon a showing that the right to a fair trial of the accused is being prejudiced by its continuance.
With due respect, the majority has struck the balance between free press and fair trial much too much to the prejudice of the press and public right to information. It has unduly sustained former President Estrada’s generalized grievance that cameras in the courtroom will bring about the collapse of the rule of law and the hypothetical fear that they will psychologically intimidate witnesses. It is all too obvious that the fear is a mere figment of imagination for former President Estrada has not named any witness with a phobia against publicity. Indeed, the myth that television intimidates witnesses has long been shattered to smithereens by empirical studies. For not even requiring former President Estrada to show actual prejudice to his right to fair trial, the majority has modified our ruling case law on the matter. The unjustified change to favor the former President will cause undeserved damage to values we revere. It will, to a large degree, throttle the right of the press to access to information and choke the flow of knowledge to the people. It is the people who govern in a democracy and they can only govern well if they are fully informed. A people kept in the dark by the blindfold of ignorance will only govern with mistakes. Let it be stressed that the right of the people to know is strongest in times of turbulence for it is when the stakes to the State are high that they cannot afford to err due to ignorance.
The majority refuses to see that the revolution on communications technology is still going on. We have radio, TV, telephones, cables, satellites, computers, wireless communications, faxes, the internet, etc. Even our rules of court now allow certain witnesses to testify in and off the court via video teleconferencing. By outlawing television in the trial of former President Estrada, the majority has denied our people the opportunity to know completely and accurately whether or not his trial will be fair and impartial. All these because the majority has persisted in the primitive belief that the courtroom is limited to the pad and pencil reporters. The majority will bring about new Rip Van Winkles in this age of electronic media — We. I dissent.
IN VIEW WHEREOF, I respectfully submit that the absolute ban on televising criminal trials be lifted and the petitions of the Secretary of Justice, the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas, Mr. Cesar Sariño, Atty. Ricardo Romulo, Et Al., and Senator Renato Cayetano, to televise the trial of the plunder cases against former President Joseph E. Estrada as well as the oppositions of former President Estrada and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines thereto, be remanded to the Sandiganbayan for proper disposition in accordance with the suggested guidelines set forth above.
Davide, Jr., C.J.
, Bellosillo, Melo and Quisumbing, JJ.
, dissenting:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
With due respect, I dissent from the majority’s ruling, written by Justice Jose C. Vitug, absolutely banning live media coverage of judicial trials.
In justifying this proscription, the majority relies mainly on an en banc Resolution dated October 22, 1991, 1 in which this Court resolved to totally prohibit live radio and television coverage of court hearings, mainly because of "the prejudice it poses (1) to defendant’s right to due process, (9) and to the fair and orderly administration of justice;" (3) while pointing out, on the other hand, that "the right of the people to information may be served and satisfied by less distracting, degrading and prejudicial means."cralaw virtua1aw library
That was in 1991. Today in 2001, I respectfully submit that it is technologically possible to uphold the right of the people to public information without violating the right of the accused to due process and without impeding the orderly administration of justice. It is now feasible to satisfy the people’s right to information "by less distracting, degrading and prejudicial means."cralaw virtua1aw library
At bottom, I would like to believe that media and the judiciary are natural partners, because they are bound together by the same reasons for being — the search for truth, the protection of the peoples rights, and the defense of the basic norms of society. By proscribing live coverage of trials and hearings, the Court has lost an indispensable teammate in discovering, processing and reporting the raw, unadulterated and unvarnished truth. Why is the majority afraid of the truth? More pointedly, why is it fearful of the whole truth and nothing but the unedited truth? Does it not believe that the "truth shall set us free?"
Basic Premise: Free,
Open and Public Hearing
The basic premise of this Dissent is that, as a general rule, everyone has a right to attend and witness a trial or hearing, especially if criminal in nature, under the constitutional principles of transparency, and of free, open and public hearings of cases. 2 However, given the limitations of time and space in a courtroom, it is not always possible to physically accommodate all persons interested in witnessing a court hearing. That is why court salas have been enlarged. Moreover, microphones equipped with electronic amplifiers, and sometimes with closed circuit television, have in the past been used to project the proceedings to the immediate vicinity of the courtroom via radio speakers, TV monitors and projection screens. In this manner, people outside have been able to listen to and watch the proceedings, as if they were inside the courtroom.
As the 21st century dawns, it is now possible to use even more advanced technology to enable more people to watch judicial proceedings in the privacy of their homes and offices without causing prejudice to the rights of the accused or to the integrity of orderly justice.
Mechanics of Opening Court
Hearings to Media Coverage
Indeed, a single fixed camera under the control of the court, could catch, live, the incidents in the trial. The audio-video output of the camera could be flashed on big, wide TV monitors or projection screens inside and outside the courtroom. This will also enable TV and radio crews outside the courtroom to beam the output to their respective stations for broadcasting to the public, without the ubiquitous and intimidating wiring, lights or media cameras inside the courthouse.
The video camera will be placed in the rear of the courtroom and its position shall be locked to wide-angle, so that only a "stationary audience view" is attained. There will be no other cameras, lights or other media equipment, which can cause nervousness or anxiety to witnesses, lawyers and other personalities directly involved in a judicial trial.
No Prejudice to
Needless to state, this method will prevent editorializing or sensationalism, which the Court in 1991 feared. In this matter, there will be no unwelcome camera focusing, probing, angling, panning or other kinds of manipulation.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary
Radio and TV reporters, by patching their connectors to the distribution amplifiers, will be able to do live broadcasts of the proceedings without hustling the judges, lawyers, parties or witnesses. They will be able to broadcast only such matters as a spectator in the courtroom can see and hear.
After a long and serious reflection on this matter, I think that the setting up of a single fixed camera inside the courtroom, to which broadcast stations could connect, is the answer to the opposing positions of the parties and the intervenors in the present matter. To repeat, this single fixed camera will give its viewers the chance to be similarly situated as a spectator inside the court who can see, watch and hear the unfolding drama of the court proceedings. Surely, the recipients of the TV signals beamed by broadcast stations cannot interfere and prejudice the fair and orderly administration of justice, for the simple reason that they are outside the vicinity of the courtroom. Thus, they cannot by any means be the "hooting throng" that the IBP scorns and fears, thinking they would destroy the constitutionally recognized judicial atmosphere and decorum.
Proper Balancing of
A trial must be public and transparent, because openness is vital to the effective administration of criminal justice in a democracy. Not only does it safeguard the rights of the accused; it likewise ensures public trust in the conduct of the trial.
Therefore, after balancing the interests of the parties concerned — the constitutional rights of the accused and the requirements of orderly procedures vis-a-vis the people’s fundamental freedom of expression and right to information on matters of public concern — I respectfully submit that live coverage via a single fixed camera inside the courtroom, through which the media can access and therefore broadcast the proceedings to the entire nation and to the world, is the best technological and legal solution to the concerns raised by the Court in 1991 and to the objections now aired by the accused (former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada) and the IBP.
A new world order brought about by the information highway and the influx of new technology in communications is dawning. And yet the Court, by its Decision today, has turned its back and refused to march in cadence with the music created by the chimes of changing technology. Our people, long awakened from the dark ages in Philippine history, are now clamoring to be veritable witnesses to the truth, and this clamor can be answered technologically by giving them a firsthand view of how the justice system operates. To keep public trust and esteem, transparency and accountability were cornerstones of this Court’s avowed policies as it celebrated its centenary on June 11, 2001. What better proof that it is sincere in realizing its goal of judicial renaissance than by opening up its proceedings without, however, compromising the rights of the accused and the integrity of orderly justice.
Indeed, in a free society where transparency and accountability are the desirable standards of public office, 3 this Court can no longer totally prohibit live media coverage of trials and hearings, given the reality that the technology of modern communications has adequately overcome the obsolete reasons for the ban.
These advances in communication facilities have now made it possible to satisfy the people’s constitutional right to information without violating the constitutional right of the accused to a fair trial and without subverting the orderly administration of justice. Indeed, it is now technologically feasible to give people in their homes and offices the same access to trials as spectators inside the courthouse.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary
Let the light of truth be beamed to all the people through the advances of science and technology in the 21st century!
WHEREFORE, I vote to GRANT the request of the KBP and the Petition of the justice secretary, subject to the safeguards prescribed above.
1. Signed by KBP President Ruperto S. Nichanrobles.com.ph:redo, Jr.
2. Letter to Hon. Hilario Davide Jr. by Ruperto Nichanrobles.com.ph:redo, 13 March 2001.
3. "Petition to Allow Live Radio and Television Coverage of the Court Hearings on the Plunder and Other Criminal Cases Filed Against Former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada, Et Al., Pending Before the Sandiganbayan.
4. Petition, pp. 3-4.
5. Perfecto Fernandez, Law of the Press, 2nd Edition, p. 210.
6. Re: Live TV and radio coverage of the hearing of President Corazon C. Aquino Libel Case; infra.
7. People v. Alarcon, 60 Phil. 265; Estes v. Texas, 381 US 532; Sheppard v. Maxwell, 384 US 333.
8. People v. Stapleton, 18 Colo. 568, 33 p. 167, 23. L.R.A. 787, (1983)
9. 75 American Jurisprudence 2d, p. 569.
10. Patterson v. Colorado, 205 US 454.
11. Keating, American Jurisdiction 2d, p. 565.
12. US Supreme Court Reports, 14 L ed 2d, p. 552.
13. As Mr. Justice Jackson, dissenting in Craig v. Harney, 331 U.S. 396, aptly said: "Who does not prefer good to ill report of his work? And if fame — a good public name — is, as Milton said, the "last infirmity of the noble mind," it is frequently the "first infirmity of a mediocre one."cralaw virtua1aw library
14. "Freedom of the Press v. Impartial Justice," MLQ Quarterly, Volume 6, No. 2, p. 100.
15. Cf. Fay v. New York, 332 US 261; Offut v. United States, 348 US 11.
16. Ibid., p. 574.
17. Mr. Justice Harran concurring in Estes v. Texas, supra.
18. Mr. Justice Tom Clark concurring in Estes v. Texas, supra.
19. Re: Live TV and radio coverage of Pres. Corazon Aquino’s Libel case, 23 October 1991.
20. 381 U.S. 532, 14 L ed 2d 543, 85 S Ct 1628.
21. Mr. Justice Harlan, concurring in Estes v. Texas, supra.
22. 427 US 539.
23. 448 US 555.
24. 457 US 596.
25. 449 US 560.
26. Ibid, p. 758.
27. Supra, p. 6.
28. Frankfurter, J., dissenting in Bridges v. California, 314 U.S. 252, 283.
KAPUNAN, J., concurring:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
1. Petition of the Secretary of the Department of Justice, p. 3.
2. Supplemental Comment on Petition for Live Radio-TV Coverage, p. 3.
3. Comment on Petition for Live Radio-TV Coverage, p. 4.
4. Resolution of the Board of Governors of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines dated April 8, 2001, pp. 1-2.
5. Article III of the Constitution provides:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
Section 4. No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances.
Section 7. The right of the people to information on matters of public concern shall be recognized. Access to official records, and to documents, and papers pertaining to official acts, transactions, or decisions, as well as government research data used as basis for policy development, shall be afforded the citizen, subject to such limitations as may be provided by law.
6. Estes v. Texas, 381 US 532, 539 (1965).
7. Sheppard v. Maxwell, 384 US 333, 362 (1966).
8. Estes v. Texas, supra.
9. Id., at 585.
10. In re Oliver, 333 US 257.
11. Estes v. Texas, supra, p. 583.
12. P. THALER, THE WATCHFUL EYE: AMERICAN JURISPRUDENCE IN THE AGE OF THE TELEVISION TRIAL (1994).
13. Estes v. Texas, supra, p. 554.
14. Article III, Section 14 of the Constitution provides:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
(1) No person shall be held to answer for a criminal offense without due process of law.
(2) In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall be presumed innocent until the contrary is proved, and shall enjoy the right to be heard by himself and counsel, to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him, to have a speedy, impartial and public trial, to meet the witnesses face to face, and to have compulsory process to secure the attendance of witnesses and the production of evidence in his behalf. However, after arraignment, trial may proceed notwithstanding the absence of the accused provided that he has been duly notified and his failure to appear is unjustifiable.
15. T. Smith, The Distortion of Criminal Trials Through Televised Proceedings. 21 LAW AND PSYCHOLOGY REVIEW 257 (Spring, 1997). [hereafter referred to as Smith]
16. Separate Opinion of Warren, J. in Estes v. Texas, supra, p. 572.
17. Id., at 569.
18. Smith, supra, p. 261.
19. Id., at 262.
20. Estes v. Texas, supra, p. 548.
21. 273 U.S. 510, 71 L ed 749.
22. Id. at 532.
23. Estes v. Texas, supra, p. 549.
24. R. Pugsley, This Courtroom Is Not A Television Studio: Why Judge Fujisaki Made The Correct Call In Gagging The Lawyers And Parties, And Banning The Cameras From The O.J. Simpson Civil Case. Mr. Pugsley is a professor at the Southwestern University of School of Law, Los Angeles. His essay was included in the symposium entitled "The Sound of Silence: Reflections on the Use of the Gag Order" sponsored by the Loyola of Los Angeles Entertainment Law Journal in 1997.
26. 449 US 560 (1981).
27. Id., at 574-575.
28. Rule 53 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure states:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
The taking of photographs in the courtroom during the progress of judicial proceedings or the radio broadcasting of judicial proceedings from the courtroom shall not be permitted by the court.
29. Th[e United States Supreme] Court has no supervisory jurisdiction over state courts, and in reviewing a state court judgment, the Supreme Court is confined to evaluating it in relation to the Federal Constitution. (Chandler v. Florida, 449 US 560, 570 ) . . . [The U.S. Supreme Court is] not empowered by the Constitution to oversee or harness state procedural experimentation, only when the state action infringes fundamental guarantees, [is the U.S. Supreme Court] authorized to intervene. [The U.S. Supreme Court] must assume state courts will be alert to any factors impairing an accused’s fundamental rights (Chandler v. Florida, supra, p. 582).
30. See Dissenting opinions of Mr. Justice Reynato S. Puno and Mr. Justice Artemio V. Panganiban.
31. Bridges v. California, 314 US 252, 271 (1941).
32. Estes v. Texas, supra, p. 551, citing Patterson v. Colorado, 205 US 454, 462.
SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J., concur:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
1. Section 1, Article III of the 1987 Constitution.
2. As Justice Harlan of the US Supreme Court decreed: "Our Constitution is color-blind, and neither knows nor tolerated classes among citizens. In respect of civil rights, all citizens are equal before the law. The humblest is the peer of the most powerful. The law regards man as man and takes no account of his surroundings or of his color when his civil rights as guaranteed by the supreme law of the land are involved. (Plessy v. Fergusson, 163 U.S. 537).
3. State v. Gill, 172 So. 412.
4. Re: Live TV and Radio Coverage of the Hearing of President Corazon C. Aquino’s Libel Case, October 22, 1991.
5. Smith. "The Distortion of Criminal Trials Through Televised Proceedings" Law and Psychology Review, 1997.
6. Ibid., Thater, The Watchful Eye: American Jurisprudence in the Age of the Television Trial (1994).
7. Ibid., See also Petkanas, Cameras on Trial: An Assessment of Educational Effects of News Cameras in Trial Courts (1990) (Ph D. Dissertation, New York University)
8. Tumey v. Ohio, 273 US 510; See also Banco Español v. Palanca, 37 Phil. 927; US v. Samio, 8 Phil. 691; Paterson v. Colorado, 205 US 454 ; Impartiality, in theory, requires that the conclusion to be reached in the case will be induced only by evidence and argument in open court, and not by any outside influence, whether of private talk or public print.
9. Section 14, Article III of the 1987 Constitution provides:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"Sec. 14. . . . (2) In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall be presumed innocent until the contrary is proved, and shall enjoy the right to be heard by himself and counsel, to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him, to have a speedy, impartial, and public trial, to meet the witnesses face to face, and to have compulsory process to secure attendance of witnesses and the production of evidence in his behalf. However, after arraignment, trial may proceed notwithstanding the absence of the accused provided that he has been duly notified and his failure to appeal is unjustifiable.
10. 6 L Ed 751, 81 S Ct 1639 (1961).
11. 373 US 723, 10 L Ed 2d 663, 83 S Ct 1417 ; 373 US 723, 10 L Ed 2d 663, 83 S Ct 1417 ); 373 US 723, 10 L Ed 2d 663, 83 S Ct 1417 .
12. 381 US 532, 14 L Ed 2d 543, 85 S Ct 1628 ; see also Marshall v. United States, 360 US 310, 3 L Ed 2d 1250, 79 S Ct 1171 .
13. Abraham, Perry, Freedom and the Court, Seventh Edition, 1998, p. 177.
14. Ibid., p. 178.
15. 384 US 333, 16 Led 2d 600, 86 S Ct 1507 .
16. 459 US 1302, 1306 (1982).
17. Smith, supra.
PUNO, J., dissenting:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
1. 381 US 532 (1965).
2. Id. at 544.
3. Colorado was the first state to allow televised trial after Estes.
4. 449 US 560 (1981).
5. Id. at 578-579.
6. Id. at 574-575.
7. 427 US 539 (1976).
8. Id. at 562.
9. Id. at 554.
10. Id. at 555.
11. 448 US 555 (1980).
12. Id. at 571.
13. Id. at 581.
14. 457 US 596 (1982).
15. Id. at 605.
16. Id. at 606.
17. See Md. R Ct. Admin. 1209, Md. Ann. Code (1985).
18. See In re Hearings Concerning Canon 35, 296 P.2d 465, 468 (Colo. 1956) where following demonstrations of camera equipment, the Court held that prohibition of cameras in the courtroom is no longer required to maintain dignity and decorum.
19. Except Colorado.
20. See McCall, Cameras in the Criminal Courtroom: A Sixth Amendment Analysis, Vol. 85 Col. Law Rev, 1546, 1549 (1985).
21. Lassiter, TV or Not TV — That is the Question, The Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, 928, 1940 Vol. 86, No. 3 (1996).
22. 69 S. Cal. L. Rev. 1519 citing Radio-Television News Directors Ass’n., News Media Coverage of Judicial Proceedings with Cameras and Microphones: A Survey of the States i-iii (1994). Federal courts, however, have maintained the ban. Rule 53 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, provides that the "taking of photographs in the courtroom during the progress of judicial proceedings or radio broadcasting of judicial proceedings from the courtroom shall not be permitted by the court."cralaw virtua1aw library
23. Cameras in Court Judge Lets the Light Shine In, Syracuse Herald-Journal, January 27, 2000, p. A10.
24. Statistics show that as of 1985, television was the principal source of news for 64% of the American public and the sole source of news for nearly half of the country’s population. Lassiter, op cit., p. 913.
25. Lassiter, op cit., p. 959 citing among others; Reimer, supra, Krigier, The 13th Juror: Electronic Media’s Struggle to Enter State and Federal Courtrooms, 3 Comm. Law Conspectus 71 (1995); Lively, Modem Media and the First Amendment: Rediscovering Freedom of the Press, 67 Wash. L. Rev. 599 (1992); Katsh, The First Amendment and Technological Change: The New Media Have a Message. 57 Geo Wash L Rev 1459 (1989); Frank, Cameras in the Courtroom: A First Amendment Right of Access, T.V., 9 Hasting Comm. and Ent. LJ. 749 (1987); Gardner, Cameras in the Courtroom: Guidelines for State Criminal Trials, 84 Mich L Rev 475 (1985).
26. 478 US I (1984).
27. Op cit. at 571-572.
28. Reimer, supra, at p. 1299.
29. Gardner, supra, at p. 493.
30. Op Cit at p. 572. This is an echo of Justice Clark’s opinion in Estes that "television is capable of performing an educational function by acquainting the public with the judicial process in action." Estes, supra at p. 589.
31. Lassiter, op cit at p. 963.
32. Ibid., pp. 964-965.
33. 384 US 333, 350 (1966).
PANGANIBAN, J., dissenting:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
1. In Re: Live TV and Radio Coverage of the Hearing of President Corazon C. Aquino’s Libel Case, the Court en banc held as follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"Representatives of the press have no special standing to apply for a writ of mandate to compel a court to permit them to attend a trial, since within the courtroom a reporter’s constitutional rights are no greater than those of any other member of the public. Massive intrusion of representatives of the news media into the trial itself can so alter or destroy the constitutionally necessary judicial atmosphere and decorum that the requirements of impartiality imposed by due process of law are denied the defendant and a defendant in a criminal proceeding should not be forced to run a gauntlet of reporters and photographers each time he enters or leaves the courtroom.
"Considering the prejudice it poses to defendant’s right to due process as well as to the fair and orderly administration of justice, and considering further that the freedom of the press and the right of the people to information may be served and satisfied by less distracting, degrading and prejudicial means, live radio and television coverage of court proceedings shall not be allowed. Video footages of court hearings for news purposes shall be restricted and limited to shots of the courtroom, the judicial officers, the parties and their counsel taken prior to the commencement of official proceedings. No video shots or photographs shall be permitted during the trial proper.
"ACCORDINGLY, in order to protect the parties’ right to due process; to prevent the distraction of the participants in the proceedings and in the last analysis, to avoid miscarriage of justice, the Court Resolved to PROHIBIT live radio and television coverage of court proceedings. Video footages of court hearings for news purposes shall be limited and restricted as above indicated."cralaw virtua1aw library
2. Sec. 14, Art. III of the Constitution, provides:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
x x x
"(2) In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall be presumed innocent until the contrary is proved, and shall enjoy the right by himself and counsel, to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him, to have a speedy, impartial, and public trial, to meet witnesses face to face, and to have compulsory process to secure the attendance of witnesses and the production of evidence in his behalf. . . . (Emphasis ours)
3. See also Panganiban, Transparency, Unanimity and Diversity, 2000 ed., pp. 46-64.