MANILA, Feb. 21 - The Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) will be holding a milestone gathering of the country's influential media, communications, and public relations personalities on Thursday, February 23, at the Bahay ng Alumni, the University of the Philippines - Diliman in Quezon City.
The PCOO-initiated event, dubbed #AllMediaPH, aims to acknowledge the power of social media and present the draft Social Media Policy before various interest groups and industry stakeholders, which include the academe, students, bloggers, mainstream media, and those in the legal profession.
Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, who will deliver the keynote address, is receptive to the idea of allowing social media practitioners, i.e., bloggers, to cover the Palace's activities.
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte earlier granted the request of some bloggers and social media supporters to cover Palace events during their meeting with the Chief Executive in Malacanan.
Andanar acknowledged the role these bloggers played in disseminating information to the public.
"The bloggers come in because there is an evolution of the media and the bloggers always tell me about Article III, Section 4 of the Constitution," Secretary Andanar said, referring to the Bill of Rights on the freedom of speech and of expression.
This same Article, the PCO Chief said, has become his basis to consider giving bloggers media accreditation to cover the Palace's events.
Social media platforms have given their users a similar power of spreading information and forming public opinion, making it imperative for the government to consider social media and its platforms, alongside traditional media channels, in developing its communications strategy and communicating directly with the people.
Nonetheless, Andanar, being a former media personality, is aware of the difference between the mainstream media and the bloggers. "I'm from the media. We are accountable to our editors, accountable to our bosses, and that's the difference. And also the discipline," he said.
Andanar also underscored the fact that since bloggers work independently, they have different sets of standards.
"We're in interesting times wherein we are seeing bloggers with names become bigger than anyone... It's a phenomenon that we have to embrace, at the same time we also have to control," he said, pointing out that social media is a new way of disseminating information.
Hence, it is important, the PCO Chief said, that bloggers must have a personality, not anonymous so that they can be held accountable if they write something libelous.
Andanar is looking forward to talking and consult with resource persons and representatives of various sectors during the event in a bid to come up with a social media framework that is acceptable to all concerned.
Some of the event's important highlights include the presentation of draft Social Media Policy, knowing the stand and opinions of resource persons, and a plenary discussion. (PCOO)