GMA Public Affairs says it will no longer ask to use photos, videos for free
This file handout photo shows GMA Network Center, one of the buildings at the broadcast giant's Quezon City complex.
Handout photo, file

GMA Public Affairs says it will no longer ask to use photos, videos for free

Xave Gregorio ( - December 4, 2020 - 11:48am

MANILA, Philippines — GMA’s public affairs arm said Friday that it will no longer ask for free photos and videos for use in its programs following backlash on social media stemming from complaints about its practices.

“Our immediate action is to put a stop to the practice of our teams requesting for use of photos and videos without compensation, particularly requesting interview subjects to shoot video for us for free,” GMA Public Affairs said in a statement.

While it confirmed that some of their programs ask for permission to air third-party material for free, it said that “a good number” of their programs provide financial incentives to those who contribute footage.

The use of contributed content, often unpaid, is not exclusive to GMA as newsrooms stretch resources — including their individual journalists and news producers — for their output.

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The statement comes on the heels of complaints posted by Getty Images photojournalist Ezra Acayan, which began with him sharing screenshots from researchers of several GMA Public Affairs programs asking him for permission to use his photos for free.

“Your programs ... make millions, so why can't you offer to pay photographers? Many photographers invest their own time, equipment, and expenses, and put themselves in danger to produce these pictures,” Acayan said in a November 13 post on social media.

This has since been followed with similar grievances from other individuals who have also been asked for their materials to be used for free.

The latest story of the network asking for free materials which it would use in its public affairs programs is of Wilson Paguyo, a Filipino chef in Paris, France who was supposedly asked by show producers to shoot video of his relief drives for fellow Filipino workers for free.

Acayan said Paguyo was told that GMA, which now leads in terms of ratings following the shutdown of its main competitor ABS-CBN, does not have the budget for him to be compensated or even for the show to donate to his cause.

Staffers eventually did donate to Paguyo's cause by pitching in from their own pockets.

“This just makes this incident a lot more heartbreaking. The only winner here is the network, both Wilson and the staff are victims,” Acayan said.

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