Unions participating in the two-day meeting "Strengthening Solidarity and Cooperation between journalists' unions in North African", held on 7/8 March in Rabat, discussed challenges faced by women and men journalists, their unions and media in the region in general.
The meeting included delegates from Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia, journalists and union activists from Algeria and Morocco and representatives from the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and international media support organizations.
The event examined various issues, in particular physical attacks against journalists, political threats on quality journalism in the region and beyond, new dangers facing journalists in North Africa, public media’s independence, gender equality in the media and young journalists’ fragile working conditions, especially in the digital press and new media professions.
In a dedicated session, participants reviewed the explanatory Memorandum on the Declaration on Media Freedom in the Arab world, which will be published in the near future, and the the adoption of the Declaration by new countries and intergovernmental organizations in the region, as well as its support by international bodies.
Participants also discussed strengthening solidarity between journalists’ unions in North Africa to enable them to face common challenges together.
"Dangers and challenges facing journalists are increasing and becoming more complex as a result of the political and technological transformations in the region and across the world,” said Younes Mjahed, IFJ Senior Vice President.” Today, journalists’ unions have committed to face these challenges together and with resolve.”
Journalists’ unions have also agreed to contribute to the preparation of a study covering a number of key common issues including:
- Trends in organizing young journalists and journalists’ unions at national, regional and international levels and opportunities to establish a working group on youth.
- Experiences in developing trade union structures to cope with the changes taking place in the media sector.
- North African unions’ initiatives focusing on strengthening gender equality and countering violence against women journalists at the workplace.
Participants expressed their high regards and greetings to women journalists in the region and across the world on the occasion of International Women’s Day, pledging to continue their work and reject any form of discrimination or pressure on them.
They also expressed their greetings and solidarity with fellow journalists and union activists in Libya and Algeria and pledged to support their efforts in establishing unions that defend their social and professional rights.
“We salute the commitment of journalists’ unions’ in the region to support fellow colleagues in neighboring countries who have been striving for years to build unions that defend them,” said Anthony Bellanger, IFJ General Secretary. “The IFJ will remain faithful to its vision and stand by journalists aspiring to establish democratic trade union organizations that are able to protect them.”
This meeting was organized with the support of the EU-funded MedMedia programme and the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) programme, as well as Union to Union.