IFJ Pledges Continued Support for Journalists in Eastern Africa

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has pledged to continue

supporting journalists' unions in Eastern Africa as they build the capacity to

defend press freedom and fights for the rights of their members.

IFJ Honorary Treasurer Wolfang Mayer and the Federation Africa Director Gabriel

Baglo said journalists unions in Eastern Africa had, through their regional

body Eastern African Journalists Association (EAJA), made commendable efforts

in collectively expanding space for media freedom and the fight for better

working conditions for journalists in Eastern Africa.

"Our unions in eastern Africa are making major strides in organising and

defending journalists. The struggle to improve journalists work rights is a long

one and I urge the unions and EAJA not to give up," said Mayer. "IFJ remains

committed to supporting your efforts and will walk with you in this journey of

building the capacities of the journalists unions to effectively organize and

strongly defend journalists' rights."

The two officials were speaking during a two-day conference on Building

journalists' trade unions in Eastern Africa organized by EAJA with support from

IFJ and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES).

"EAJA has done a marvelous work in rallying journalists' unions in this region and

the  IFJ will continue to support the

EAJA efforts of building the organisational capacities of its affiliates to help

them deal with the challenges facing journalists in the region, including

effective collective bargaining frameworks with employers, protection of trade

union rights in the media industry," said Baglo.

EAJA Secretary General Omar Faruk Osman said journalists and unions in the

region face challenges from repressive governments and exploitative media

employers, adding that it was important to support the unions to effectively

organise themselves and address the challenges.

"Journalists continue to face repression and harassment from governments and

employers in the region and EAJA will continue to support and work with its

affiliates to address these challenges," said Osman.

On behalf of EAJA, Osman thanked FES and IFJ for support and solidarity in the

face of daunting challenges and said that the efforts aimed at organising

journalists and strengthening the unions in the region would be scaled up

rigorously.

The conference was attended by leaders of unions and associations affiliated to

EAJA from Djibouti, Ethiopia, Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Kenya,

Somalia and a representative from the journalists' union of Southern Sudan,

which is due to formally become an Independent state on July 9, 2011 following

the referendum held in January, in line with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement

signed in 2005 to end decades of civil war between the North and South of

Sudan.

In a declaration adopted at the end of the conference, leaders of journalists'

unions and associations reiterated their "dedication to further reinforce EAJA

and empower its affiliated unions and associations to realise better working

and living conditions for journalists".

The journalists' leaders emerged "from this conference emboldened and united to

carry out the roadmap on trade union development and organizing which was

adopted at this conference".  

For more

information contact the FAJ at   +221 33 867 95 86/87 

The FAJ

represents over 50,000 journalists in 38 countries in Africa