What will vloggers do in Marcos Jr.’s Malacañang? Incoming PCOO still unsure

Xave Gregorio - Philstar.com
What will vloggers do in Marcos Jr.�s Malacañang? Incoming PCOO still unsure
President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. speaks to UniTeam Supporters in Cavite on March 22, 2022. The transition team of Marcos Jr. is looking to accredit vloggers to cover presidential activities of the next administration
Philstar.com / EC Toledo

MANILA, Philippines — Press secretary-designate Trixie Cruz-Angeles, a vlogger herself, said accreditation of bloggers is one of the priorities of her office, but people at the office she will take over are apparently still uncertain what role social media personalities will play at the Palace.

Angeles, who will head the Presidential Communications Operations Office, said Thursday that their focus now is on reviewing the policy created by Duterte administration on bloggers and vloggers, admitting that they are unsure “if now is the right time to include them” alongside accredited journalists from news outlets.

“We are reviewing if the current policy is correct. If [it would be] right to include them in press briefings, how often, what are the qualifications and so on,” Cruz-Angeles said on ABS-CBN’s TeleRadyo partly in Filipino.

Among the questions she said they are trying to answer is the “level of inclusion” that bloggers and vloggers will have and whether they will be “regular” like the Malacañang Press Corps — a group of journalists from outlets accredited to cover the president.

Vloggers might also be limited to covering events, and the PCOO is studying whether they will create separate events for social media personalities.

“We still have to see and right now we are listening to all feedback,” Cruz-Angeles said.

Among the things being considered by the PCOO is to also include social media engagements as a basis for accreditation, but even this is still up in the air as Cruz-Angeles describes qualifications to get a pass to cover Malacañang are "secondary considerations."

She said, however, that she personally thinks there are "significant differences" between journalists and social media personalities that PCOO would have to consider, but also noted that distinguishing between these two groups must not result in a policy which favors one over the other.

The PCOO under President Rodrigo Duterte introduced in 2017 a policy that allows bloggers and social media practitioners to cover events attended by the chief executive as long as they are at least 18 years old and have at least 5,000 followers.

No social media practitioner ever applied for accreditation to cover Malacañang, according to the PCOO Media Accreditations and Relations Office, but there were internet personalities who were allowed to cover some of Duterte's foreign trips and international gatherings hosted by the Philippines, including the 2017 Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit.

Vloggers meanwhile trailed Marcos Jr.’s campaign alongside journalists and were, on some occasions, given better access to the then presidential candidate.

Journalists, unlike vloggers, are bound by a Code of Ethics that the Philippine Press Institute, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines and the National Press Club adopted in 1988.

Among the items in that code is "the duty to air the other side and the duty to correct substantive errors promptly." Journalists — and the news outfits they represent — also risk losing their credibility as professionals when they make factual mistakes.

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