[Statement on GMA7’s massive retrenchment] Altermidya, the national network of alternative media organizations and practitioners, stands in solidarity with our colleagues in the GMA-7 regional stations who have recently been laid off.
The mass retrenchment of reporters, desk editors, cameramen and other media workers by a giant media company such as GMA-7 once again demonstrates how big business regards the media as no more than just another money-making enterprise. GMA 7 chairman Felipe Gozon himself said that the layoffs are meant to increase ratings and revenues. For the dominant, corporate media, human capital is solely for exploitation for profit.
In the past few years we have witnessed how big businessmen have bought more and more controlling shares in many of the country’s big media outfits or have established their own. This development has increased the number and intensity of attacks on the rights of many journalists and media workers. The right to form and join unions, the right to a fair salary, and the right to security of tenure, among others, have all been wantonly violated in the name of profit.
Not only the lives and livelihood of journalists and media workers are at stake here but also press freedom. What kind of journalism can we expect from media organizations that treat news as a commodity, their workers as disposable currency and their audience as unthinking consumers? So long as the present situation prevails, trivia will continue to prevail over information the public needs so they can understand what is happening towards making the decisions on public issues that a sovereign people is called upon to make.
We encourage our colleagues not only in GMA 7 but also in other media organizations to organize themselves to fight for their survival and for the people’s right to relevant information. No appeal to the media moguls’ humanity or reason will work; only organization will. The time has come for the work force of every media organization to establish local unions towards forging a coalition that will eventually develop into an industry-wide national union. The history of the country’s labor movement shows us that collective action is our best weapon against oppression and exploitation. Organize, organize!