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Veteran Journalists Call for End to Journalists Killings and Media Exploitation

Updated on August 9, 2011

NUJP-Canada says Journalists Killings in RP must end.


JOURNALISTS CALL FOR AN END TO MURDERS AND FORM UNION TO COMBAT MEDIA EXPLOITATION

For the first time since 1966, a chapter of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines has been established in Canada. Last July 1st, Canada Day, a group of veteran journalists and union editors formed NUJP-Canada, a union of journalists, writers and artists.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines – Canada is the first international union local of NUJP. It promises to gear up for a recruitment drive to attract local journalists and expand nationwide.

Unlike the Philippines, Filipino-Canadian journalists are not bogged down by numerous unresolved killings totaling nearly 150 since the ouster of the Marcos dictatorship in 1986, becoming worse during the Gloria-Macapagal Arroyo regime and continuing today under the presidency of Noynoy Aquino.

However, Filipino-Canadian journalists, especially, those who are veteran daily newspaper writers from the Philippines are aware that there are other important issues that affect those who continue to work as journalists here in North America. Many bewail the fact that journalists and photographers are not paid for their work in Canada. Echoing the demands of other North American journalist organizations, NUJP-Canada supports the call for journalists, news photographers and media workers to be paid just wages and an end to years of exploitation. “Journalists should be compensated for their work and the practice of not paying writers for their news contribution must stop sooner or later. Right now, it is free labour,” said Ores Ting of NUJP-Canada.

NUJP-Canada whose members are experienced editorial board members of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU), veteran daily newspaper reporters and community newspaper writers and Radio and TV technical staff aims to focus its attention in maintaining a pool of writers, photographers and artists and train its members on labour rights and union organizing. The group plans to hold the “Editors’ Weekend Trainings.”

NUJP-Canada’s main focus will be the promotion of Press Freedom and work to advance the rights, welfare and benefits of its members and support similar initiatives of NUJP in the Philippines. It also calls for an end to the continuing killings of journalists in the Philippines. Currently, the Philippines holds the global record of the highest number of journalists killed in one day and one of the most dangerous country in the world for practicing journalists.

Last November 23, 2009, 32 media practitioners along with 23 other civilians were gunned down by armed men composed of police and Philippine army soldiers loyal to a political clan in Ampatuan, Maguindanao, Philippines. The trial of those responsible for the Maguindanao massacre victims grinds slowly in the Philippine courts.

Edwin C. Mercurio, chair of NUJP’s Canadian Chapter said “Filipino-Canadians are beginning to understand that quality journalism will only survive if journalists who are well-trained, know their job, well informed and passionate about their work are paid fair wages or duly compensated for their work by newspaper publishers and owners. Clearly, conscience dictates that exploitation of journalists has to stop whether it is in the Philippines or here in Canada. Journalists can’t continue to work for free. NUJP-Canada maintains that continuing exploitation of media workers is a labour issue and needs to be seriously addressed.”


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