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PCOO plan to accredit social media influencers questioned amid proliferation of fake news 

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A MEDIA freedom advocate on Thursday urged the incoming chief of the presidential palace’s communications team to consult the Malacañang Press Corps (MPC) and other sectors on their plan to include social media influencers in press briefings.  

Incoming press secretary Rose Beatrix “Trixie” Cruz-Angeles on Wednesday said the accreditation of social media influencers for presidential briefings is among the top priorities of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO).  

“We are pushing for the accreditation of bloggers to be invited to some of the briefings, especially those conducted by the President-elect,” she told a televised news briefing. 

Danilo A. Arao, a press freedom advocate and journalism professor at the University of the Philippines, said the PCOO, which serves as a bridge between the Palace and legitimate media, should clarify whether it has consulted the MPC and other sectors like the academe regarding the plan. 

The MPC is a group of journalists accredited by the state to cover presidential events.  

Mr. Arao also said that the communications office should make public its guidelines on the planned accreditation of bloggers, content creators and influencers.   

“Given the toxic media landscape, this is a dangerous proposal given that ‘fake news’ peddling is being perpetrated by certain ‘influencers’ and there is ongoing harassment and intimidation of certain journalists toward ‘de-legitimizing’ them,” Mr. Arao said in a Messenger chat.   

Ms. Cruz-Angeles said the Marcos camp would likely “open up discourse” and look at “issues of disinformation that seem to be a hot button topic nowadays.” — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza 

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