Andanar approves ‘interim policy’ for accrediting bloggers

Pia Ranada
'Social media practitioners' 18 years old or above who have at least 5,000 followers and generate news about President Rodrigo Duterte may be given accreditation

OPEN TO BLOGGERS. PCOO Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson's office is in charge of choosing bloggers who receive accreditation to cover President Rodrigo Duterte's events. Malacañang file photo

MANILA, Philippines – While a final policy is still being crafted, Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar signed an “interim” policy for accrediting bloggers to cover President Rodrigo Duterte’s events.

The document, entitled “Interim Social Media Practitioner Accreditation” was released by Malacañang on Wednesday, August 9.

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<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>LOOK: PCOO has an &#39;interim policy&#39; for accrediting bloggers. | Photo of document from Asec Kris Ablan <a href=”https://twitter.com/rapplerdotcom”>@rapplerdotcom</a> <a href=”https://t.co/vG1lhhaxpE”>pic.twitter.com/vG1lhhaxpE</a></p>&mdash; Pia Ranada (@piaranada) <a href=”https://twitter.com/piaranada/status/895176605659791361″>August 9, 2017</a></blockquote>
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It states that accreditation may be given to any Filipino citizen who is at least 18 years old and has at least 5,000 followers in any social media platform.

The policy covers only bloggers who “generate news and information regarding the activities of the President.”

Bloggers or social media personalities who want to cover presidential events have to apply for accreditation at the Social Media Office (SMO) at the New Executive Building. The SMO is headed by Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson, a prominent online Duterte defender herself.

Accreditation will be given on a per-event or per-activity basis only, unless specified by the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO). It is also subject to clearance from the Presidential Security Group (PSG).

Accreditation given to a blogger may be withdrawn, canceled, or suspended, but the two instances when this may be done is vague.

One instance is “abuse of rights and privileges extended by PCOO” and “improper use” of the accreditation.

It should be recalled that bloggers had expressed vehement opposition to what the PCOO should consider as violations of accreditation back when a draft of the social media policy was being discussed during a forum.

They had opposed, for instance, any requirement that they refrain from using foul language. One blogger, Trixie Cruz-Angeles, even said the use of profane language is an “advantage” bloggers have over journalists which should not be taken away by government regulation.

In that same forum, there were calls for a code of conduct to be imposed on bloggers eyeing accreditation.

The interim policy is to be given a “test run” for 6 months, to be monitored by Uson.

At the end of this period, the policy will be reviewed and, if needed, revised. – 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.