Outgoing Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Friday underscored that news were still best consumed on traditional platforms, adding “there is no journalism on social media.”
Locsin, himself a former member of the Philippine media, was commenting on reports that the incoming administration will allow bloggers access to Malacañang press, a privilege traditionally given only to conventional media practitioners.
“You guys used bloggers to do what bloggers do—when it was convenient and the targets were helpless to respond,” Locsin wrote on Twitter, responding to a separate televised interview with Vergel Santos, a trustee at the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility.
“There is no journalism on social media. News must be in print and on the air to make it so expensive you make sure it is the truth before running or airing it.”
In an interview on “Dateline Philippines”, Santos said of the blogger access: “A blogger decides for himself or for herself. A journalist does not.”
“A journalist, apart from being put through a rigorous training in the discipline and skills … [their] works are put through a system of checks to ensure that the information disseminated is truthful, well contextualized and not malicious,” Vergel added.
“Bloggers don’t understand those things.”
Incoming Press Secretary Trixie Angeles-Cruz, a pro-administration blogger, this week revealed plans to prioritize accrediting bloggers for Palace events and presidential briefings.
Coverage for these events have only been limited to broadcast, print, and mainstream-online journalists.
But Locsin—whose highlights in his journalism career included being the publisher of Today and Globe newspapers and hosting TV news programs—said social media reporting is just different.
“Press freedom on social media does not involve the steep price of printing or broadcast, editors and reporters on regular pay and is cost-free self-indulgence with one hand—masturbation,” the official said.
Deputy Presidential spokesperson Kris Ablan, however, noted that the 2017 directive that allowed social media personalities to get accredited in Malacañang remained.
These individuals must be at least 18 years old and must have at least 5,000 social media followers.
Bloggers and influencers played a critical role in the campaign of President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
The Malacañang Press Corps deferred comment on the matter until details became clearer.