Today's Punto
Today's Punto
Truth and free expression are more than a business

Jan 16, 2018

THE NATIONAL Union of Journalists of the Philippines is saddened and alarmed at the layoff s of scores of staff at CNN Philippines, the latest in a series of mass firings that have seen hundreds of media workers unceremoniously left out in the cold, many of them after years of rendering impeccable service, often at great risk to life and limb.

And, based on information reaching us, it appears we have yet to see the end of these terminations, carried out in the name of “rightsizing,” “downsizing” and the other terms used in a vain attempt to sanitize the wholesale displacement of the employed and the increasing trend towards contractualization in media.

It is bad enough that the fi rings come at a time when Philippine journalism needs all hands on deck as it comes under increasing pressure from vindictive and intolerant government and fends off a growing wave of populist disinformation, official or otherwise, while media workers face worsening threats, old and emerging.

It is doubly unfortunate that the mass terminations underscore the fact that the Philippine media appear to have largely abandoned the public service aspect of their mandate - information and education - for the pursuit of the bottomline. It is, alas, a trend we have seen growing through the years as more and more media workers are faced with less and less opportunities for regular employment and the benefits this brings and the exigencies of profit lead to a growing “dumbing down” of the news and the increasing prominence of “infomercials” and “infotainment.”

We stand with our displaced colleagues and off er them whatever assistance we can. At the same time, we call for unity among our ranks. Let us organize ourselves to protect our rights as media workers while continuing to remain devoted to the tenets of our profession.

We urge media owners and managements not to throw away the heart and soul of an industry that has in no small way helped preserve and advance democracy in the country by making available to our people the information they need to come to educated decisions about their individual and collective futures.

(NUJP statement on CNN Philippines layoff s dated Jan. 12, 2017 signed by acting chair Atty. Jo Clemente)

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