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PBA says Badua ban not form of curtailing freedom of "family members" media partners

The PBA, headed by CEO Chito Salud and Commissioner Chito Narvasa, issued a statement clarifying its decision to ban Snow Badua. Dennis Acosta (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--The PBA clarified its decision on banning Spin.PH reporter Snow Badua for his tweets against Ginebra governor Alfrancis Chua.

[Related Story: Narvasa issues ban on Badua for "evil" tweets to Chua]

In an official statement made on Thursday, the league stood by Commissioner Chito Narvasa's move to revoke Badua of his media accreditation.

The statement read, "The accreditation issued by the league is a privilege and not a right, and subjects the accredited party to observe and follow the host’s house rules and ethical norms within their jurisdiction.... Apparently, Mr. Badua has abused the so called freedom of expression countless times by spreading false and unverified reports through social media. Team owners, coaches as well as league officials have called the attention of the Commissioner’s Office on this issue. The PBA respects Mr. Badua’s right to free speech, a right that cannot be taken away from him. In the same breath, the PBA also has the right to protect itself against those who are out to besmirch and tarnish the integrity of the institution, including its officers and staff. The PBA acknowledges media’s democratic right to free expression. But we also understand that a responsible media doesn’t use that right to besmirch anyone, especially if it is unfounded."

The PBA also clarified that the ban only applies to the league and Badua, once a contributor for the league's website, can still do his job as a journalist although he now needs to pay up to gain entry.

The league continued, "While the PBA stands by its decision, the league cannot prohibit Mr. Badua from performing his function as a journalist. He will be allowed entry to any arena where PBA games are held and he can continue to write, criticize, publish and distribute his stories about the PBA in any media platform he so desires. But like any basketball fan, he will now have to buy a ticket to be able to enter the venue."

The first play-for-pay league in Asia also made a statement regarding comments from various sportswriters calling Badua's ban a curtailment of press freedom.

The PBA stated, "The Office of the Commissioner issued this clarification in order to address and allay fears by some quarters, who interpret the ban on Mr. Badua as a curtailment of the freedom of the press. PBA commissioner Chito Narvasa and the Board of Governors consider their media partners family. The league acknowledges and is grateful for the big contribution of its media partners. 'On behalf of the PBA Board of Governors, we wish to assure everyone that we will continue to strengthen our long term relationship with the media as we try to build a better and bigger league for all of us who love the PBA,' Narvasa said."

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