The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today welcomed the recent re-launching of the Eastern Africa Journalists’ Association (EAJA), whose aims will be to foster press freedom, improve journalists’ safety and security and promote conflict resolution in the region.
“We salute and congratulate our colleagues from East Africa for reviving and re-launching EAJA as a formal organisation as this will make it a visible and vocal part of civil society in the region,” said Gabriel Baglo, director of the IFJ Africa Office. “We are confident that EAJA will help rally the support of opinion leaders and the civil society in the search for peace and development and other interests critical to the promotion of press freedom in the East and Horn of Africa sub-region.”
EAJA, was created in September 1997. The group was officially relaunched during a summit of East African journalists unions in Djibouti on September 29 and 30. The meeting was hosted by the the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) but held in Djibouti because of security concerns.
At the meeting journalists unions and associations from Eastern African countries drew up a 10-point Declaration and a plan of action that would focus on the need to find a lasting solution to the state of incessant violence and insecurity in the Eastern Africa sub-region. EAJA was created to work closely with like minded institutions and authorities to help bring peace.
“Journalists continue to die and face persecution in the hands of violent forces. This state of insecurity is one of the greatest enemies of press freedom because journalists cannot freely perform their duties in a state of lawlessness,” said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General and a member of the IFJ Executive Committee.
The summit elected the following officials to steer the EAJA agenda for the next three years:
1. Dr. Moheldin Ahmed Idris of Sudanese Journalists Union as President,
2. Tervil Okoko Tom of Kenya Union of Journalists as Vice President,
3. Omar Faruk Osman of the National Union of Somali Journalists as General Secretary
4. Herbert Lumansi of Uganda Journalists Union as Treasurer
5. Safari Gaspard of Rwanda Journalists Association as Adviser
The meeting was attended by the leaders of journalists' unions and associations from Burundi, Djibouti, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda, and the semi-autonomous South Sudan.
The summit was hosted by the NUSOJ and supported by the IFJ.
For more information contact the IFJ at + 221 842 01 43
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 114 countries worldwide