Filipino journalists face low pay, violence, restricted info access

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JOURNALIST AT WORK. A photo I took while covering the special elections in Lanao del Sur in May 2007. The elections there had to be postponed because of violence.

Low pay, media killings and restrictions to information access are the three most important problems facing journalists in the Philippines, results of a national survey of journalists showed.

A survey of 349 journalists in the Philippines, conducted between May and December last year, found that 38.2% identified low pay and poor working conditions as the most important problem journalists in the Philippines have to endure.

About 21% identified violence against journalists as the most important problem, while 9.5% referred to problems with information access, primarily citing the lack of a freedom of information (FOI) law in the country as well as different forms of government pressure.

The survey is part of the Worlds of Journalism Survey, a global project involving journalism researchers from more than 70 countries.

In the Philippines, journalists were asked to identify what they considered as the most important problem confronting journalists in the country.

The respondents were allowed to write their answers using their own words. The responses were then categorized and analyzed by the researcher.

The respondents also identified the following problems: decreasing media credibility (8.5%), increasing pressure from audiences and new technologies (7.5%), corruption among journalists (6.5%), increasing pressure from owners (5.2%), and sensationalism in reporting (3.6%).

The respondents include journalists from local, regional, and national news organizations.

Some 51% were female and 49% were male. The sample also includes journalists across different positions, from reporters to editors-in-chief.

 

The author is a journalism researcher and professor at the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. His research focuses on the impact of new technologies on journalistic practice. He is also a former journalist from the Philippines. Email him at edson[at]ntu.edu.sg

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