MALACAÑANG announced Monday, February 20, that it will hold a meeting with members of the mainstream media and bloggers despite the apparent rift between the two parties.

In a statement, Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said the event will be held Thursday at the University of the Philippines’s Bahay ng Alumni in Diliman, Quezon City.

Andanar said several groups, including the academe, students, bloggers, mainstream media, and those in the legal profession, were invited to participate in the presentation of the draft “social media policy.”

In an invitation sent to Palace reporters, the draft social media policy “will allow social media publishers to be recognized as legitimate sources of information, and provide a system of accreditation.”

Andanar said he would like to consult the 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.”

Andanar, who accused Palace reporters of “misreporting” the President’s pronouncements, is eyeing to allow social media bloggers to cover events at the Malacañang. Duterte reportedly granted the bloggers’ request to cover his activities.

Andanar said bloggers also played a crucial role in disseminating information to the public.

“Social media platforms have given their users 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,” Andanar said.

“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 added.

While he is considering to give bloggers access to cover the Palace activities, Andanar recognized that mainstream media work differently from social media writers.

“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 then said those who want to be accredited “must have a personality, not anonymous, so that they can be held accountable if they write something libelous.” (SunStar Philippines)