What is happening to local news websites?

Jace Amodo
PUBLISHED January 19, 2018 04:11 pm
Inside Manila File Photo

(Inside Manila) In a time when the fake news is rampant, people ought to be more observant on their sources and the practice of freedom of information itself, and show support to those that prove deserving. Or at least that’s what we thought.


CNN Philippines’ “rightsizing”


In letters dated January 11 and signed by the president of CNN Philippines brand operator Nine Media Corporation, Armie Jarin Bennett, several employees were to be let go as part of the company’s “rightsizing” program, having only until the 10th of February to hold their positions.


The notice stated that until that termination date, those employees—editors, cameramen, graphics artists, engineers, coordinators, floor directors, and associate producers—need not appear on the job so as to have their time seeking a new job.


Redundancy on positions was said to be the cause of rightsizing, and the watchdogs of the society are obviously not too happy about it. As the Talents Association of GMA (TAG) said on its Facebook page “Buhay Media,” newsmen and women already face threats from the government for doing their jobs in search of truth.


Support to news institutions was hardly given that it cripples the foundation of their service, but it could be remedied by “protecting the welfare of the workers who risk their lives every day doing this job.”


InterAksyon’s shutdown


TV5 Network Inc., owned by Manny Pangilinan, is shutting down its online news portal InterAksyon, its Editor-in-Chief Roby Alampay confirmed on the morning of January 19.


The shutdown, slated to officially happen in March, comes as part of the media firm’s cost-cutting program and to pave the way on “rationalizing and integrating all its digital properties and consolidating all the brands under News5.com.ph.”


TV5 has experienced financial bumps that inevitably led to a series of downsizing, but in its almost eight years in service, the portal has become one of the major sources of local news at Filipino’s fingertips.


Rappler’s order


One of the news that shook the country this week is when the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) announcement on January 15 that they have revoked Rappler’s license due to a violation on the Constitution.


The SEC claims that Omidyar Network is “being given controlling powers through the Philippine Depositary Receipts (PDR), which directly violates responsible journalism—that all media companies should be completely owned by Filipinos.


Though Justice secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II announced two days later that the Department of Justice (DOJ) has formalized its investigation into the issue, Rappler remained its stance against the claim and vowed to “fight the ruling all the way to the Supreme Court.”


Netizens, on the other hand, remain divided on SEC’s order to shut down the news website.

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