Filipino Freelance Journalists’ Guild launched
MANILA-BASED FREELANCE journalists on October 21 officially launched the Filipino Freelance Journalists’ Guild (FFJ) after two years of “arduous organizing and research.” The organization is the first group dedicated solely to address the concerns of freelance journalists in the Philippines.
In a Facebook statement on October 26, the guild said that with the historic launching, they have “arrived” and envision regional expansion to extend the advocacy nationally. As of this writing, the post has garnered more than 230 likes and 150 shares, with journalists and press freedom advocates congratulating the newly-formed guild.
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) conducted the feasibility study in 2021 to assess the possibility of establishing the said guild. The study noted that freelancing has risen steadily in the country, showing more Filipinos opting for flexible options and opportunities to make a living. But institutions that can help support freelance journalists, according to NUJP, were “not yet in place.”
“Blatant disregard for freelancers’ well-being, especially in the time of the Covid-19 pandemic; gender discrimination and misogyny; and lack of institutional support and social protections” are among the problems raised in the study. NUJP used surveys and focus group discussions as their methodology in the said report. The group also helped with the launch of FFJ.
FFJ’s interim chairperson, Maro Enriquez, shared in her own Facebook post that she has long dreamed to organize and unionize freelance journalists, saying “finally, there will be an organization that will specifically cater to the needs and demands and grievances of freelancers, especially in a changing media landscape such as ours.”
NUJP chairperson Jonathan de Santos, also expressed his support: “The formation of this guild shows how we can go from solidarity with each other to organizing and joining together for stronger collective action.”
“With the FFJ’s establishment comes the hope that freelancing in the Philippines will become more favorable to the plight of the Filipino freelancer through its creation of programs and campaigns that will not only uplift its members, but the journalism community as a whole,” FFJ’s statement read.