Live streaming of Senate hearings may soon be allowed

September 30, 2010

Christina Mendez
Philippine Star
September 30, 2010

MANILA, Philippines – The Senate may soon allow live Internet streaming of sessions and committee hearings to give the public greater access to information on issues and legislative procedures.

The chamber adopted Resolution 53 yesterday allowing pilot testing of live streaming of selected plenary proceedings and committee hearings.

“The rules committee is of the view that we should take advantage of the information revolution in this digital age so that the Filipino people will have access to and be informed of the goings-on here in the Senate whether in plenary or Senate hearings,” Majority Leader Vicente Sotto said. Sotto chairs the Senate committee on rules, which deliberated on the resolution originally authored by Sen. Francis Pangilinan.

“Accessibility and transparency will be the hallmarks of this legislation,” Sotto said.

In an interview, Sotto said the live streaming would be available for free on the Senate website.

“We will not be beholden to any cable operator,” Sotto said in response to a question from Senate President Pro-Tempore Jinggoy Estrada.

“If we find the same to be financially and technically feasible, we can proceed with the institutionalization of the live proceedings,” Sotto said.

In the original Resolution 53, Pangilinan said live streaming of legislative proceedings is recognized in Canada and in some states in the US.

“The streaming and recording of Senate proceedings will encourage greater participation from the public,” Pangilinan said.

“It is a known fact that most of the time, issues and discussions raised during plenary sessions and committee hearings/meetings are misinterpreted, which cause unnecessary confusion to the public,” Pangilinan said.

In the digital age, Pangilinan said live streaming of the Senate proceedings would lead to more fruitful interaction between the Senate and the public.

“This will also promote transparency and accountability of legislators in the proceedings in the Senate. Advances in technology can expand the opportunities for the proper dissemination of what is happening in real time during plenary session and committee hearings at the Senate,” Pangilinan said.

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