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PCOO draft: Accredited bloggers must post approved releases

Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar has said he is open to allowing bloggers to cover events in Malacañang. File photo
MANILA, Philippines – Bloggers who will be accredited by the Presidential Communications Operations Office to cover events in Malacañang will have to post the agency’s press releases on their social media pages and websites.
A draft PCOO social media policy furnished to reporters showed that the posting or dissemination of press releases will be among the responsibilities of accredited “social media publishers” and “social media users.”
The draft policy will be discussed during the #AllMediaPH forum to be held Thursday at the University of the Philippines Bahay ng Alumni in Quezon City.
A social media publisher is defined in the draft as “an identified person or group of persons that maintains a publicly-accessible social media page, blog or website, which generates a content and whose principal advocacy is the daily dissemination of original news and/or opinion of interest, with at least 1,000 followers of subscribers, and which has published regularly and consistently for a period of 12 months.”
A social media user, meanwhile, refers to “a person or group of persons that maintains a social media account, which generates content expressing his/her of their opinions, viewpoints, commentaries, the sharing of news and information and other similar or related communication activities.”
Article IX, Section C of the draft policy states that accredited social media publishers and users have the responsibility to “post, share and disseminate on his/her or their social media page, blog or website the press releases and other news information issued by the PCOO.”
The draft did not make a distinction between social media users from the government and those from the private sector.
While the PCOO will require social media publishers and users to disseminate its press releases, it will also ask them to “validate the truthfulness of the news content that they generate, publish and share.”
Those who will be given accreditation should also be “editorially independent of any institution, foundation or interest group connected or affiliated in any manner with the government.”
To be accredited, a social media publisher should be a Filipino adult and should maintain a publicly accessible social media page, blog or website that contains original news or opinions of interest. They should also have at least 1,000 followers and have published regularly for one year.
Groups or partnerships seeking accreditation should present registration documents from the Security and Exchange Commission and the trade department.

'Social media volunteer programs'

Once the draft is approved, a unit to be called “Social Media Policy” will issue accreditation to be valid for six months.
PCOO said the benefits of accreditation are faster processing of on-site access passes to PCOO events like briefings and interviews and inclusion in the mailing list of updates.
Accredited social media users will also be invited to social media programs, training and learning activities.
They will also be included in the “PCOO social media volunteer programs that will work with the PCOO’s attached agencies and GOCCs (government-owned and controlled corporations).”
Accredited social media publishers and users will be expected “strictly abide” by a code of conduct on social media platforms. Under the code, they should be respectful of others, avoid offensive, inflammatory and provocative language, posting sexual content, impersonation, and endorsing a product.
Some bloggers have accused the mainstream media of being biased against President Rodrigo Duterte and being paid hacks of his political rivals.
Some of them have even resorted to personal attacks and name-calling to malign journalists whom they think are distorting the statements of the president and his officials.
PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar, a former news reader, said he is open to the idea of allowing bloggers to cover activities in Malacañang.
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