Uson fires back at Palace reporters: Why meddle with bloggers?

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 09 2017 08:34 AM

Communications Assistant Secretary Margaux "Mocha" Uson answers questions at a Senate hearing on fake news, October 2017. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Presidential Communications Office Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson on Thursday fired back at Palace reporters who accused her of attempting to suppress the freedom of the press. 

The Malacañang Press Corps (MPC) on Wednesday said Uson's request that online news site Rappler be reclassified as a social media entity is an attempt to "curtail press freedom." 

Uson, an assistant secretary for social media, denied that she wants to expel Rappler from the Palace. 

"Kahit pa na re-classify lang ang aking nire-request kay Secretary Martin, ito ay maliwanag na hindi ko pinapatanggal ang Rappler sa Malacañang," she said in a video on her Facebook page. 

She also accused the MPC of "meddling" with the accreditation of bloggers who want to cover Palace events. 

"Ayaw niyong makialam ang social media office sa inyo, pero bakit noong inaayos na ang accreditation ng mga bloggers, kayo ay nakikialam dito? We do not have authority over you, but you want to have authority over the bloggers. Is that fair?"

"Akala ko ba freedom of the press ang inyong ipinaglalaban?" she said. 

(You do not want the social media office to oversee you, but why interfere with the accreditation of bloggers? We do not have authority over you, but you want to have authority over the bloggers. Is that fair? I thought you were fighting for press freedom.)

Uson said she wants Malacañang to "be open to all forms of media, not only to the members of Malacañang Press Corps." 

"Ang Malacañang ay para sa taumbayan at hindi lang para sa iilan. Iyan ang tunay na kalayaan ng pamamahayag," she said.
 
(Malacañang is for the people, not just the select few. That is real freedom of the press.)

Uson's request to reclassify Rappler came amid a tiff between Rappler reporter Pia Ranada and pro-Duterte blogger, RJ Nieto of Thinking Pinoy.

Ranada filed a complaint against Nieto before the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas after Nieto asked Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr., in an interview with dwIZ radio, to throw a hollow block at Ranada. 

Rappler has said Uson’s request was a clear violation of the Constitutional guarantee of press freedom.

“Rappler is an independent private media company. Because the Constitution guarantees freedom of the press (Art. III, Section 4), government does not have the power to regulate independent media,” Rappler said.