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
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
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".
information contact the FAJ at +221 33 867 95 86/87
represents over 50,000 journalists in 38 countries in Africa