Mocha Uson disputes Poe on Rappler reclassification

Senator Grace Poe (left) and Communications Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson

MANILA — Communications Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson questioned on Thursday the remarks of Sen. Grace Poe saying that her move to reclassify Rappler as social media was meant to “marginalize” the online news outfit.

“I respect and hold in high esteem, Sen. Grace Poe and welcome her remarks. However, it becomes quite clear now that it is not Rappler that is being marginalized but social media,” Uson said in a statement.

In a one-page letter to Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, Uson, an assistant secretary for social media, wanted Rappler to be under her office and be removed from Malacañang Press Corps because it has no print or broadcast arm.

Poe in a statement released said the attempt to “marginalize” Rappler are both “misplaced” and “inconsistent” with the essence of press freedom.

“The move to marginalize Rappler in its coverage of the Palace and to demand the legal authority of the Malacañang Press Corps (MPC) to cover the President are both misplaced and inconsistent with the essence of press freedom and the people’s right to be informed of the President’s activities and pronouncements,” she said.

But Uson said the senator “marginalized” social media with his statement.

“When you equate a reclassification to my division as a marginalization, you are saying that it’s NOT ok for mainstream media to be marginalized, but it’s alright to do that to social media,” she said.

She said reclassifying Rappler as social media won’t cut its access to cover Malacañang.

“Let me be clear. Coverage of Malacañang is simply access to information that ought to be made available to everyone. And classifying Rappler as social media would only be a problem if the latter is denied equal access to this information,” she said.

In her blog post, Uson said:

“Sa madaling salita madam Senator, Kung i-classify ang Rappler as social media restricted na sya?  So ang SocMed pala restricted? Hindi ba ang ibig sabihin ng press freedom ay kalayaan mamahayag o magsalita? So walang ganun ang SocMed? Pili lang po ba ang may kalayaan mamahayag o magsalita sa atin bayan?” she said.

The Palace official then questioned Poe’s silence when MPC was allegedly meddling on the request of bloggers to be accredited to cover Malacañang.

“At asan po kayo noong pinakikialaman ng MPC ang accreditation ng mga bloggers na papasok sa Malacañang? Care to also give a statement for the freedom of information of bloggers?” she said.