US government cracks down on blogger giveaways

June 23, 2009 | 1 Comment

Although not applicable to the Philippines, it helps to be aware of this: The United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is preparing more stringent guidelines on the way bloggers accept certain perks, which usually equate to writing blog posts about them.

The practice has grown to the degree that the Federal Trade Commission is paying attention. New guidelines, expected to be approved late this summer with possible modifications, would clarify that the agency can go after bloggers — as well as the companies that compensate them — for any false claims or failure to disclose conflicts of interest.

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Existing FTC rules already ban deceptive and unfair business practices. The proposed guidelines aim to clarify the law and for the first time specifically include bloggers, defined loosely as anyone writing a personal journal online.

This is not a new issue, really, except that the US government is now looking into what should be considered legal based on arbitrary ethical standards. Which, of course, is not a black and white matter especially in the blogosphere.

Bloggers complain that with FTC oversight, they’d be too worried about innocent posts getting them in trouble, and they say they might simply quit or post less frequently.

“It would always be better for bloggers to self-police,” said Robert Cox, president of Media Bloggers Association in New Rochelle, N.Y. “We have laws on the books. They apply to everybody, not just people who write blogs.”

Yuli Ziv, who writes a fashion blog from New York, is working on one such effort at self-regulation, helping craft an ethics policy for about 15 Web sites as part of the Style Coalition started in January to help bloggers become more professional.

“It’s been an issue, regardless of the FTC,” she said. “It’s about trust.”

The safest route is to practice full disclosure at all times, which a lot of the pay-per-post and similar online advertising companies require anyway.

One can only wonder how the Philippine government will deal with this once they hear about it.

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Department of Foreign Affairs

February 16, 2009 | 1 Comment

Department of Foreign Affairs

The Philippine government is slowly taking steps into the 21st century starting with the Department of Foreign Affairs website. Get all the information you need on regarding citizen travel and international affairs in one place.

Get the breaking news, press releases, speeches, guidelines, travel advisories, and media campaigns when you subscribe. Now that it’s powered by WordPress, accessing information is so much easier.

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Bagong Botante by COMELEC

January 30, 2009 | 1 Comment

Bagong Botante

The Bagong Botante blog is maintained by the Education and Information Development arm of COMELEC and helps inform the masses about voting procedures and the latest developments involving this government unit.

One of the big problems with any government-related endeavor is that the public is poorly informed of what to do, and therefore are intimidated to participate. Blogging can address this problem and bring institutions like the Commission on Elections closer to the people.

The original blog was hosted at WordPress.com but now it has moved to its own domain at BagongBotante.ph.

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Malaysian blogger arrested and goes on hunger strike; Could this happen to the Philippines?

May 9, 2008 | 3 Comments

A 57-year old Malaysian blogger (Raja Petra Kamaruddin) was arrested for writing an article implicating a top official (Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak) to the murder of a Mongolian woman (Altantuya Shaariibuu), and soon after began a hunger strike in jail. Inquirer has picked up this news item and it’s now circling around the local blogosphere.

Do Filipino bloggers worry that what they write could lead them to their arrest, torture, even salvage? We’re all familiar with stories about the families of activists, journalists, and witnesses crying for the justice never given to them after their loved ones’ threats, arrests, disappearances, and deaths. It’s happened way too many times in this country.

Could Philippine bloggers be next?

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Blogging about the Lozada Testimony and ZTE Broadband Scandal

February 8, 2008 | 38 Comments

“Ang salitang Pilipino ay tumutukoy sa isang bansa, ang bansang Pilipino. And sometimes, it’s worth taking a risk for this country.” – Jun Lozada

Controversies in Philippine current events almost always spill over to the Philippine Blogosphere because it’s a great way to hear from the many voices that would otherwise be drowned out by hype. This very moment, all eyes are on the brave witness in the ZTE broadband scandal, Rodolfo “Jun” Lozada. How have Pinoy bloggers covered the issue so far?

AWBHoldings.com has a short list of blogged reactions, including a link to Manuel L. Quezon III’s Twitter live tweets of the hearing.

Speaking of MLQ3, he has quite a number of lengthy blog posts himself, the latest being “The Witness”. Lots of links out too, including a plea from Lozada’s niece. It’s clear that aside from blogs running WordPress, Multiply will always be a goldmine Filipinos updating on their lives.

Then there’s the transcript of Lozada’s Exposé from Pedestrian Observer (also available at GMANews.TV).

Oh, and I found an awesome quote by Jun Lozada from Mary Ann Señir and an awesome caricature of Jun Lozada by Jed Segovia, both of which you can see at the top of this post.

This is just the beginning, so be sure to keep up with Jun Lozada and the ZTE Broadband Scandal (tools like Google Blog Search and Twitter are a big help).

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