Shoot the messenger, not the gunman. Philippine President Benigno Aquino took a swipe at the media - blaming it for the failed attempt to rescue hostages on the coach that was played out on live television. 'The news media may have worsened the situation by giving the shooter a bird's-eye view of the entire situation,' he said - referring to reports that the hijacker was able to monitor the rescue mission on a television mounted inside the coach - during a press conference held hours after the siege ended on Monday. Aquino also rejected claims that police should have imposed a news blackout. 'If we ordered a news blackout, you would tell us we were guilty of censoring news. We did vow transparency.' Gabriel Luis Quisumbing, a member of the Philippine House of Representatives, who proposed a bill yesterday to restrict future media coverage of such incidents, supported Aquino's view. He said that the media 'may have jeopardised police rescue operations on site'. His bill seeks to impose a media blackout on police and military positions, movements and actions during crisis situations. Anyone breaking the law would face up to six years in jail and a fine of 20,000 pesos (HK$3,415). Charles Wong Doon-yee, a former senior assistant commissioner of the Hong Kong police, said law enforcement agencies around the world expected huge media coverage of such major incidents. Wong said: 'Certainly this creates difficulties because the hostage-taker might possibly see details of the police deployment on a live TV broadcast. But this is something the police cannot avoid at all. 'The way to deal with it is through enhanced rescue strategies, planning and training for deploying special forces, so a speedy operation takes place and saves the lives of hostages.' He said media liaison officers should be at the scene to provide updates, but police had to ensure that important details did not leak out and make matters worse; some reports say the arrest of the brother of the Manila gunman might have sparked the shooting of the hostages. Wong said that in some cases police imposed restrictions on the media for operational needs. For example, during the siege of the Iranian embassy in London, in 1980, the Metropolitan Police had tried to ensure secrecy prior to the rescue mission by special forces. But one ITN film crew defied the police demands and filmed the SAS as they abseiled down the walls of the embassy. Journalism academic To Yiu-ming, assistant professor of Hong Kong Baptist University, said that showing a live broadcast was the most responsible way for media to have covered the crisis in Manila. 'The media did not pose any hindrance or trouble to the police's actions [in Manila]. On the contrary, the live footage showed the whole world the performance, and inability, of the SWAT team.' A news blackout of the incident would not have changed the tragic outcome. 'The president may consider the need to block media coverage at the final stage of such a crisis,' he said. 'But the failure of the initial negotiations played a much bigger role in the situation deteriorating than the news coverage.'