The Seminar, which brought together 22 young journalists from various media house including online journalists and members of the UJOSS executive deliberated on the working conditions of young journalists in South Sudan, exploitation of young journalists working online and strategies to recruit young journalists into the union.
Young journalists at the seminar decried the callousness of some media owners in the country who deliberately refuse to issue contracts to journalists working under them. They noted that there are media houses operating in the country where no journalists are issued with contracts which can easily jeopardise their careers as they can be fired at any time without any form of compensation, irrespective of the number of years someone has worked at the media house. They called on the union to engage media owners to ensure that journalists who are employed are issued with contracts.
The participants at the Seminar also highlighted that there is no minimum wage in South Sudan, which allows private media owners to exploit young journalists by paying salaries as low as US $ 10. They called on the union to engage and lobby parliamentarians to enact a Bill that guarantees a minimum wage in South Sudan.
The Secretary General of UJOSS, Majak Daniel Kuany Alier, said that UJOSS is a young union that has been confronted with huge challenges. He emphasised that UJOSS is trying its best to tackle issues of welfare, safety and building the capacities of the journalists in order to help them to do their job professionally. “UJOSS has been bolstering most of its synergies to address issues of harassments and other forms of violations committed against journalists and media workers since resuming office on May 28, 2021. Our priority now is to redouble our efforts to push for the welfare of journalists by advocating for the implementation of the Labour Act 2017 and a minimum wage for journalists,” Majak said.
The two-day seminar dilated on various thematic issues including the working conditions and exploitation of young journalists working online, gender equality in the media, sexual harassment in the newsrooms, laws governing the use of the internet in South Sudan, freedom of expression and the rights of journalist working online, freedom of association, the right to organise and collective bargaining and freelance journalists and the decent work agenda.