Monday, July 25, 2011

A New Press Organization na naman?

Uphold journalistic standards           

There is a new organization of journalists in Toronto. It is the National Union of Journalists in the Philippines - Toronto. I guess it is a chapter of the Philippine organizations. It criticizes the newspapers here for having too much entertainment news. It is lead by Butch Galicia or Libretto and Tenny Soriano of Balita. According to them, “Stung by a proliferation of fake and incompetent media practitioners in the local newspaper industry, concerned Filipino journalists formed themselves into a union to work for standardized pay and to upgrade their technical skills.” Standard naman ang pay ko-near bottom. And to think publisher na nga ako. The irony is that Galicia’s Libretto is actually full of entertainment news. And hindi ba mayroon nang organizations sila Tenny and Mon Datol na Manunulat na Pilipino or something? Sus maryosep. May full time jobs na nga tayo, may 2nd, 3rd jobs, saan pa natin hahanapin ang time to upgrade skills to write. The formation was announced accompanied by a photo of the attendees. Besides Tenny Soriano and wife and Butch Galicia, I do not recognize any of the others. It looked more like a picnic photo of friends. There is only one to become a journalist anyway. Just do it. It is like becoming a great photographer - take pictures.

Filipino Journalists Want No More Freebies for Their Work


Member, Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE), Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) and National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada (NEPMCC)

TORONTO - Stung by a proliferation of fake and incompetent media practitioners in the local newspaper industry, concerned Filipino journalists organized themselves into a union to work for standardized pay and to upgrade their technical skills.

Toronto's Filipino community of 250,000 has at least 15 entertainment-oriented tabloids, most of them heavily dependent on press releases and reprints from publications in the Philippines.

Some publishers, editors and reporters have no background in journalism and, least of all, the ability to write, and hire non-journalists for a pittance to edit and design their publications for them, according to journalists interviewed for this story.

"You read about entertainment. You read about the good news, the bad news in the Philippines; the good news and the bad news in Canada. You read all about them . . . but how much of the content comes from home-grown writers? Not even two percent," says Butch Galicia, editor of the monthly English-language Libreto newspaper in Toronto.

The continuing slide of local journalism into disrepute is exacerbated by a woeful lack of trained and schooled journalists, a problem made apparent by the dominance of content that highlights Philippine and Canadian entertainment.

Journalists Tenny Soriano and Butch Galicia.
"The news that you read in the papers only tells you the alleluias of all organizations, including birthdays, weddings and all the sort," Galicia added.

The newly-formed National Union of Journalists of the Philippines - Canada hopes to improve the local situation.

"Our focus is on the promotion of press freedom and to work for the benefit and welfare of Filipino media practitioners in Canada and the Philippines," says Edwin Mercurio, NUJP-Canada chair.

A similar group exists in the Philippines but NUJP-Canada is the first nationally-organized union of veteran Filipino-Canadian journalists, writers, photographers and artists in North America.

Mercurio said NUJP-Canada recognizes the importance of training local media practitioners and volunteers to maintain a strong pool of talents, thus the planned Editors Weekend Trainings beginning this year.

"One of our main goals is to assist media practitioners in their just demands to be treated with dignity and respect; just compensation for their hours of work; social, health and other benefits," Mercurio stresses at the small gathering on Saturday (July 23, 2011) in High Park formally launching NUJP-Canada.

Officers, members and guests at the NUJP-Canada launching on July 23, 2011 in Toronto's High Park.

The group also expressed alarm at what it calls "the continued killings of media practitioners in the Philippines and the prevailing culture of impunity".

The Philippines holds the global distinction of having the highest number of journalists killed in one day with the massacre of 32 media persons in Maguindanao province in Southern Philippines in November 2009. Twenty-five other civilians were also killed on that same day.

"This is one of the major reasons we are compelled to act and organized this union of journalists in Canada, as a symbol of our solid and continuing support for our beleaguered colleagues in the Philippines," explains Mercurio.

He said the Philippines is considered the most dangerous country in the world for practising journalists.

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