Sunday, December 4Multi-awarded Filipina blogger, publicist and social media specialist
Shadow

Are you willing to pay P6,000 to the Philippine government just so you can blog?

Because this seems to be the case if ever a proposal dubbed “Guidelines on the Provision of Contents, Information, Applications and Electronic Games” lodged before the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) pushes through. Now, how does this affect Mindanaoan bloggers or content providers here in the Philippines, you ask? This controversial proposal, when loosely translated, would mean that the Philippine government wants to require people to hold licenses in order to create or post content online. And, of course, there will be corresponding fees and charges. Under the proposal, a filing fee of P300.00 shall be imposed and an annual registration fee of P6,000.00. There will also reportedly be surcharges for late filings.

While the proposal probably has commendable objectives and while the proposal probably mainly targets corporations or business entities that provide content online, I still see a problem especially in the definition of terms. Under the said proposal, “Contents Providers” are supposedly persons or entities offering and providing contents to the public for compensation through the networks, systems and/or facilities of authorized networks, systems and/or facilities providers while “Contents Developers” are persons or entities creating contents.

Aren’t bloggers content providers?

Does this mean that once this proposal gets ratified, bloggers are required to not only apply for that license but to shoulder that P6,000.00 as well?

As of this writing, the available draft of this proposal is dated December 2, 2008. There was supposed to be a public hearing last January 22, 2009 but that got canceled. I wonder why. Also, I wonder if this proposal got raised because of the recent blogger/blogging incidents? (i.e. Bambee dela Paz’s blog entry about the alleged mauling incident between her brother and father and the Pangandamans and the student bloggers of the Quezon City Science High School who got suspended because of their allegations against their principal)

What do you think…is this something we Filipino bloggers (especially Mindanao bloggers) should be worried about?

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