Afghanistan: "JUADN is very sensitive to issues of refugees and journalists under threat"

Maria Antoniadou is the President of JUADN, one of IFJ's Greek affiliates. The union has a long tradition of helping journalists in need coming from around the world and has been actively supporting two Afghan women journalists and their families during their visa process to Canada.  

Ms. Maria Antoniadou at the annual “Botsis Journalistic Excellence Awards” on May 26, 2022 where she made a speech and introduced Afghan journalist Masooma Gholami. Credit: JUADN

IFJ. Can you describe how JUADN has been supporting Afghan journalists?

Historically, JUADN has been standing in solidarity with colleagues in need and is very sensitive to issues of refugees and journalists under threat. Therefore, when IFJ Deputy General Secretary Jeremy Dear asked for JUADN’s support for Afghan colleagues Sara Turgaan and Masooma Gholami and their families who had fled to Greece, JUADN Executive Board unanimously decided to offer financial aid to our colleagues from Afghanistan on a monthly basis, providing €500 for each colleague as well as €150 for each of their children. In addition, our Executive Board sent a letter to the Unified Journalists’ Organization of Subsidiary Insurance and Health Care (EDOEAP) so that our colleagues’ medical care costs would be completely covered during their stay in Greece, until their relocation to Canada in May and June 2022 respectively.

IFJ. How would you describe the solidarity of your members towards Afghan journalists?

Our members always stand in solidarity with their colleagues in need. In this case, however, we preferred not to publicize our actions, thus protecting the anonymity of our Afghan colleagues, ensuring their safety.

IFJ. What were their most pressing needs? 

Their most pressing needs were initially accommodation, clothing and medical care for them and their families. JUADN managed to cover those needs and also to secure the assistance of relevant bodies for this cause. Clothing costs were covered by the JUADN Solidarity Fund and board members were kind enough to personally cover our colleagues initial expenses.

IFJ. What advice would you give to other unions that are willing to help?

They must not hesitate to take a leaf out of JUADN’s book and support our colleagues in need, irrespective of ethnicity, religion, gender, ideological or political beliefs or any other status, always remaining in close contact and collaboration with the IFJ.

For more information, please contact IFJ on +32 2 235 22 16

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