Off the record

Journalists launched a Black Friday Protest to protect press freedom in the country.

But behind the much talked, much publicized, press freedom issue, members of the working press continue to suffer and agonize a much bigger problem– from unfair labor practice to harassment in the workplace down to security  problems which many media industry disregarded if not ignored for decades.

While the journalists struggle to be free from danger and unrest, the government like other media organizations and entities, remain lukewarm and callous to the issues besetting the Philippine press.

While government has yet to serve justice to the unresolved media killings, the dedicated members of the press awaits the approval of the Freedom of Information Bill which  remains in the cold hands of Congress.

Who cares about the working press?

While big companies are raking profits and offer high salaries to the prominent faces on television screens or the loudest voice in the airlanes, the faceless and nameless employees remain overworked and underpaid.

While big networks, provide coverage insurance to the most popular personality who covers a controversial case, regional correspondents receive a meager P3,000 to P5,000 monthly “honorarium” and a next to impossible transportation allowance.

Is it a case of a penny for your thought?

As lowly paid journalists fight for the rights of the oppressed and the voiceless, no one dared to write in their own stories for fear it might render them jobless
because they remain powerless inside their own workplace.

No one would dare to tell their publishers or network owners about the pay hike. Lucky are those who have unions because their voice are collective.

While ordinary Juan dela Cruz shouts aloud for a successful labor fight through the press– imagine the one writing his story is shaking his or her head because their problem remain unresolved.

As the public talk about Rappler’s revocation issue, hundreds of employees with over a thousand dependents face bleak tomorrow.

On January 11, 2018 Nine Media Corporation, which operates the CNN Philippines terminated about 88 employees.

Employees who received the notice were told that their
positions were found redundant after the company assessed its operational requirements.

Last week, another television giant announced the closure of InterAksyon website saying the network will rationalize and integrate all its digital properties and consolidate their brands under News5,com.ph.

And, the still unrenewed Congressional franchises of the 54 radio stations owned and operated by the Catholic Bishop’s Confederation of the Philippines (CBCP).

These issues are worth a public outcry. You never know, one of them is your family member or a personal friend or a friend of your friend.

The government,  being a government to  all, should also look to the plight of the working press, institute laws to protect them.

While we cry out loud for the still perceived dark age of the Philippine press– the fact exists–members of the Philippine press have suffered long enough in the hands of their aggressors-the elite and the mighty owners of the media entities.

Until and unless, these issues are properly addressed, their can never be a free press, because freedom for me involves freedom from hunger and starvation, freedom to me is equality in the workplace.

You may ask, why journalists are still in this profession when they too are complaining about their condition?

My answer is simple– Like you, we want to be heard and writing your story eases our misery.

Be informed
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