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Social media policy mum on practitioners' use of profanities.

The interim social media policy of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) was silent on the use of profanities by accredited social media practitioners.

'We had to delete the requirement limitation regarding the use of profanity because it might encroach on their freedom of speech,' Communications Assistant Secretary Kris Ablan said in a Palace briefing on Thursday.

Communications Secretary Martin Andanar on Tuesday signed Department Order No. 15 entitled 'Interim Social Media Practitioner Accreditation.'

The DO said social media accreditation shall be issued to a Filipino citizen who is at least eighteen 18 years of age and has at least 5,000 followers in any social media platform. Accredited social media practitioners would have the access to cover the official events of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Section 6 of the order stated that accreditation given to a social media practitioner may be withdrawn, cancelled, or suspended due to 'abuse of rights' and 'improper use.'

The order, however, did not indicate the specific violations that would warrant the cancellation of the accreditation of social media practitioners.

Asked if how the PCOO would implement quality control over accredited social media practitioners, Ablan said he hopes they would 'behave' once given accreditation.

'The presumption is those who will be accredited will, you know, are law-abiding Filipino citizens who will not use profanity in their articles, who will not use fake news,' he said.

'Hopefully, once they get accredited, they'll realize the importance of the accreditation that they received and they behave properly,' he added.

With this presumption, Ablan said there was no reason to state in the DO the use of foul languages.

'There is no need to expressly state that you're not supposed to use profanity in any of your articles,' he said.

But pressed whether the use of foul languages would merit the loss of accreditation, Ablan said the policy was silent on the said matter.

'The policy is silent. We'll leave it to SMO headed by Assistant Secretary (Mocha) Uson to decide on that,' he said.

SMO or the Social Media Office (SMO) was created under DO 13 signed by Andanar on July 14. Uson heads the SMO.

Ablan cited Section 6 of the order, saying accreditation may only be withdrawn, cancelled or suspended when there is an abuse of rights and privileges extended by PCOO or due to improper use.

'I have brought up with the office of Asec. Uson in the accreditation process that they will sign some kind of terms and conditions and maybe-although it's not in the policy-it might be in the terms and conditions that they should not use profanity. But that's still up to her,' he said.

'Although I'm the Asec. for Policy and Legis Affairs, she is the Asec. for Social Media, the ultimate decision on how to handle the social media accreditation lies with her. I merely guide her with the legal and policy process,' he added.

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Aug 10, 2017
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