The Sudanese Journalists Union (SUJ) in collaboration with the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) held a two –day Seminar on Freedom of Association and Labour Rights under the Union to Union Project 2017, from 6- 7 November, in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum. The Seminar brought together 30 participants drawn from the union’s executive and newspaper, radio and television journalists from Khartoum and the regions.
In his Opening address at the Seminar, the Minister of State for Information, Yasser Yousuf, expressed the Government’s willingness to enact laws that guarantees the safety of journalists and their work. He assured journalists at the seminar that work is in progress in relation to the amendments on the Press and Publications Law. This law, he said, “is very important as it is one of the laws mentioned during the National Dialogue and in other forums and national conferences”. He added that the Press and Publication Law will set the next phase of preparing laws that are compatible with internationally recognized standards.
The President of the Sudanese Journalists Union, Al Sadig Al Rezegi in his welcome statement said that this seminar is aimed at building the capacity of journalists on issues concerning freedom of association and labour rights. He said that the SJU is determined more than ever before to fight for the rights and welfare of its members and will do more in recruiting members into the union especially youths and females journalists as well as journalists who are working in the regions.
The Secretary General of the National Press Council, Abdul Azim Awad, in his statement said that there has been rapid development in the field of media work, which requires journalists to work harder than ever before in order to keep up with this pace. He noted that the National Press Council has a good working relationship with the SJU and will continue to support the efforts of the Union in promoting press freedom and building the capacity of journalists.
The Acting Director of the IFJ Africa Regional Office, Pa Louis Thomasi said that the freedom of association is a fundamental human right and governments and employers must respect this right and allow journalists to join unions of their choice as stipulated by ILO Convention 87. He called upon the executive of the SJU to make the union more visible and attractive in order to attract new members into the union and to reach out to young journalists especially those who work online.
The two –day seminar dealt on a wide range of issues, including the working condition of female journalists in Sudan, Gender Equity and the right to freedom of association, laws affecting the freedom of association in Sudan and the right to organize and collective bargaining.