Journalists associations

The Philippines has a handful of journalists’ or media workers’ organisations and trade unions, but few with a strong national presence. Some associations have individual journalists as members, as in the case of National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), National Press Club, and Economic Journalists Association of the Philippines. Some have outlets or firms as members, such as the Philippine Press Institute (PPI), an association of newspapers and also one of the oldest professional media organizations, ‘Kapisanan ng Brodkaster ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas’ or KBP (Association of Philippine Broadcasters), and College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) for college publications.

Some of these associations campaign actively for media freedom and decent working conditions for journalists. They also release statements and conduct activities condemning what they described as ‘culture of impunity’ in the country, a condition that enables journalist harassment (online and offline) and even killings. The NUJP, for instance, recently published several press releases on the recent arrest of a prominent journalist, Maria Ressa, head of news outlet Rappler, which published stories critical of the current administration. The NUJP slammed the arrest as ‘a move of a bully government’ (2019). Ressa had just been convicted of cyberlibel, a verdict described by NUJP as an assault to freedom of speech and the press (Gonzales, 2020).

The CEGP, meanwhile, participates in campaigns aside from those that primarily concern the media. These include human rights campaigns particularly in light of the at least 6,000 deaths in police anti-drug operations (Tupas, 2019) since President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office in 2016. This number could be a conservative estimate, given that the source is the Philippine National Police, and also does not include the vigilante killings that occurred in the same period. The CEGP, the oldest alliance of student publications in the country with hundreds of member publications, also publish press releases and other materials containing its stand in issues such as poor labor conditions and what it deems as flawed government policies.

Other associations adopt a monitorial and regulatory rather than an advocate role, as in the case of KBP. The KBP, with 121 member broadcast stations and corporations, established its ‘own system of self-regulation and standards for radio and television stations in the country’ (2016).