Amidst the feud between Mocha Uson versus the Malacanang Press Corps, a retired broadcaster and a former president of the MPC speaks up in Mocha’s favor.
The former Philippine Star reporter and member of the Malacanang Press Corps Bobby Capco took to Facebook to give fellow reporters a tap in the back so to speak, reminding them to swallow their pride and accept to co-exist with Mocha and the rest of the social media bloggers.
Otherwise, Capco warns the clash between MSM’s and socmed bloggers will continue.
Retired radio and TV broadcaster Jay Sonza echoed Capco’s sentiment and gave a sterling review on Facebook.
THIS IS A MUST READ FOR ALL REPORTERS covering Malacanang at sa lahat ng reporter na hindi alam ang kanilang pinagsasabi tungkol sa mga reglamento sa coverage ng Office of the President.
Para mamulat kayo, basahing mabuti itong paliwanag ng isang dating pangulo ng Malacanang Press Corps at professional journalist na NABIGYAN ng pagkakataong na maging senor reporter to cover a sitting president of the Republic of the Philippines.
MALACANANG PRESS CORPS IS JUST A SOCIAL CLUB OF REPORTERS ASSIGNED TO COVER THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT. NO MORE NO LESS. MAKE NO MISTAKE ABOUT IT.
WALA KAYONG DAPAT IPAGYABANG.
Please read Capco’s post below.
I want to make it clear that I am not an unbiased person with regards the issue of press accreditation in Malacanang because I consider all subalterns of the President in the Palace communications office as allies who support the same President.
But I would like to point out that I was a member of the Malacanang Press Corps, and was even its President, during the term of former President Fidel V. Ramos during the early 1990s, covering for the Philippine Star.
The MPC is a private organization of media people covering Malacanang. The MPC itself, however, is not the one accredited by the Palace press office for the news coverage of the President. It is just an organization, a club if you must, of the journalists who cover the President of the Philippines. Accreditation is given to individual journalists, not to the MPC.
Accreditation by the Malacanang press office means you are allowed to cover the President’s activities, and attend his press conferences and briefings, within Malacanang and his out of Palace activities. In the olden times when the Palace press office provided planes and helicopters for presidential trips to the provinces, we also covered the provincial trips, with a pool of two or three journalists from the MPC and the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP) selected to join the President’s party itself to provide pool news report for the entire press corps.
The Palace press office’s advance team and the Philippine Information Agency’s regional staff and officers do the accreditation of the province-based journalists who could cover the President’s provincial trips. Security is tight always wherever the President of the Philippines goes, and not just anyone is allowed to come near or be acquainted with the President for security reasons, including journalists.
That is the primary reason for the accreditation process in Malacanang in the olden days. You can report on the President without even covering his activities personally, but it pays to be there yourself observing and taking notes of everything, not just the President’s words or actions, but also those of the people who are with him and the public that are there to adore, or even protest.
That said, the accreditation of journalists covering the President is part of the responsibilities and authority of the Palace press office. Responsibility because it is part of the duty of the President to inform the public at all times of what he is doing. Authority because the Palace press office could bar anyone it deems to be a threat to the security of the President of the Philippines from getting near to or entering the presidential palace.
In the White House, accreditation is much coveted as it is a prestigious beat for any journalist all over the world. To cover the President of the United States (POTUS) is a rare privilege in the olden days. Many times, the White House press office had withdrawn the accreditation of individual reporters, but they were replaced right away by other reporters from the same outfit.
Today, there is a new breed of information gatherers, disseminators and thought-leaders who have amassed big public followings that are much, much more than those of the journalists who are in the so-called mainstream media. These are the social media writers and bloggers; identifying them as journalists is very controversial because of the traditional media’s stern objection that only they could be called “legitimate” media or journalists, and not these upstarts from the social media scene.
For that matter, that is where our Asec for Social Media Mocha Uson come from, as she enjoys anywhere from three to five million followers for her vlogs, or video blogs, as compared to the earlier versions of bloggers, who only wrote and did not videotape themselves or came out :live” on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and others. I can see the enjoyment of the MPC members in dissing out Asec Uson, and they are joined by all the members of the “legitimate” press and the anti-Duterte critics in mocking Asec Uson for allegedly being misinformed. They may be right from their point of view. Asec Uson and the millions of DDS followers think otherwise, and are comforted by the thought of their numbers.
I don’t think this controversy will ease within the foreseeable future, I told the Malacanang-based journalist who called me yesterday to ask for my opinion. As long as journalists from the mainstream media are unwilling to accept that they are no longer the sole gatekeeper of the information received by the public, the conflict will continue with no abatement.
The social media bloggers who had been supportive of President Duterte could be accused of being his mouthpieces, but they are thought-leaders of their own right and dispense information they gathered as they see fit, to the delight of the millions who follow them. In comparison, only a small portion of the population now get their information from the mainstream media. Print newspapers from all over the Philippines, including the provincial papers, could only have a combined circulation of less than a million copies a day. We have an adult population of maybe around 50 million. Only a million of these read newspapers, can you imagine? That is why it’s so popular even for those in the mainstream media to post their reports, opinions and commentaries in social media platforms.
With regards TV and radio, the percentage of the population who listen to radio is probably only 10% all over the country. About 50 percent watch primetime TV news twice a week or three times a week. Most TV news viewers also wait for the entertainment and movie reports, and just listen or watch with half an eye or an ear to what the newscasters are saying for the rest of the newscast.
Asec Uson and her group of fellow social media bloggers and vloggers really just have a much, much bigger audience than they do. And frankly, they really have a much different worldview than the usual crowd who were the dominant thought leaders before.
So, where does this bring us? We are but at the fount of a yet-to-be-made long history of social media and its impact on the world. This is just the beginning of the unleashing of the power of the individual that used to be concentrated in the hands of the gatekeepers of information in the so-called “mainstream” media. I say so-called because now social media has much more access to the public than the traditional media agencies. From its very root words, traditional media appears no longer to be the “main” “stream” source of information of the public. Asec Uson and her supporters have a right to feel proud, and that is why we see them asserting their right, however wrong or correct they may be.