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EDITORIAL | The community press today



JOURNALISTS across the globe marked World Press Freedom Day on May 3, Monday. In a conference organized by the Freedom for Media, Freedom for All, a media group composed of seven institutions, the state of the community press under the pandemic was one of the topics that was discussed.

The Philippine Press Institute conducted three consultations in November last year under its program “Caring under the pandemic,” checking on the situation of the community media. PPI chair Rolando Estabillo told members of the community press in last year’s forum that “there is no escaping progress,” and that anything that disrupts the flow of information “is a good thing because that means there is progress.”

The COVID-19 pandemic wrought an unimaginable, devastating impact across the world in all aspects of human endeavor. Community papers that have, for the past couple of years, already been suffering from dwindling revenue, are now gasping for breath to survive.

Everything we are seeing at this moment is a contraction: Most of the newsrooms have to let go of correspondents due to loss of revenue, newspapers had to limit their number of pages to be able to continue printing, reporters are not as mobile as before and would depend mostly on virtual pressers for stories which results to difficulties in verifying information; lack of safety equipment, and joblessness.

All these exacerbated the already difficult situation we are in, especially on the prevalence of misinformation and disinformation in the midst of the pandemic.

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