Palace crafting ‘social media policy’ for bloggers

Pia Ranada
The policy will allow bloggers 'to be recognized as legitimate sources of information' and provide a 'system of accreditation,' says the Presidential Communications Operations Office

'SOCIAL MEDIA POLICY.' Communications Secretary Martin Andanar is paving the way for bloggers to be seen as 'legitimate sources of information.' File photo by Simeon Celi Jr/Presidential Photo

MANILA, Philippines – The Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) is creating a “social media policy” to facilitate the accreditation of bloggers for coverage of presidential events.

The PCOO, in a letter to the Malacañang Press Corps (MPC), said the policy “will allow social media publishers to be recognized as legitimate sources of information” and will provide a “system of accreditation.”

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier gave the go-signal for some pro-administration bloggers to cover some Palace events, alongside the accredited journalists who form the MPC. (READ: Should bloggers be accredited to cover the Palace?)

Bloggers had asked for this privilege. Communications Secretary Martin Andanar admitted this was one way for the administration to recognize all the help Duterte’s presidential campaign received from the bloggers.

To facilitate the crafting of the social media policy, the PCOO invited members of the media, bloggers, and communications and public relations personalities to attend a “Social Media Policy Town Hall.”

In the gathering, Andanar hopes to consult sector representatives to come up with a policy that is “acceptable to all concerned.”

The event will be held on Thursday, February 23, at 2 pm at the University of the Philippines Bahay ng Alumni in Quezon City.

Andanar said in a press release that the popularity of some pro-Duterte bloggers “is a phenomenon that we have to embrace, at the same time we also have to control.”

Some of these bloggers have accused media organizations of corruption and bias, even giving them the moniker “presstitutes.” (READ: Inside Martin Andanar’s man cave)

Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) trustee Vergel Santos said there is a danger in accrediting bloggers.

“Accrediting bloggers would encourage a blurring of the distinction between legitimate journalism and pseudo journalism – of which blogging happens to be today’s most typical example,” Santos had said in a previous interview with Rappler.

This blurring would be a “disservice” to the public, the primary consumers of information.

“The confusion necessarily extends to the audiences, and that’s where the disservice and the danger lies,” he added. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.