As the world commemorates International Labor Day, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines salute and extend solidarity to the workers, particularly to the men and women who toil in our independent press.
Indeed, while physical attacks and other attempts to suppress press freedom continue to be a major concern of Filipino media workers, there are other threats they have to contend with on a daily basis.
It is one of the greatest ironies that many Filipino journalists who write about the plight of our workers are themselves victims of the same exploitative system that keeps the toiling masses from enjoying the real fruits of their labor.
Most media workers work for substandard compensation, at times in locations and situations that often expose them to harm. Many are required to solicit ads to earn commissions in lieu of wages and often forced to accept additional sidelines to augment their take home pay.
Many others are deprived of the right to security of tenure.
And we do not talk only of the correspondents and stringers but also many of those who work for some of the largest media outfits, where contractualization – and yes, even outsourcing – is fast becoming the norm.
In many more outfits, many of those who do enjoy regular employment are prevented from organizing unions or even associations to protect and advance their rights and welfare.
And because media are, first and foremost, an industry for which profit is the primordial objective, we can expect conditions for workers in media to mirror the same worsening exploitation and oppression of workers in other sectors as employers continue to find ways to keep their costs down to squeeze maximum earnings for themselves.
Just as people demand – and rightly so – the highest ethical standards from us, we, too, should demand ethical ownership.
We, therefore, also challenge media owners to be ethical employers and look to the safety and the welfare of their workers.
But more than this, we workers in media should band together, as we have and continue to stand united against the continued assaults on our ranks, and struggle for better working conditions and just wages.
May 1, 2012
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