Unifying the profession in Africa

Journalists in both government-owned and privately owned media should be supported in initiatives to strengthen awareness of and actions to promote basic standards of professional conduct and ethics.

In particular, structural and political support should be provided for the creation and strengthening of representative and independent journalists’ organisations which play an instrumental role in formulation of media policy so that journalists are integrated in the process of media development.

In Africa, the IFJ supports the following activities:

· Support of an information network through the press centres and national members organisations focusing on specific issues such as freedom of information: law and practice, status of journalists, working conditions of journalists.

· Organisation of regional meetings to review the preparation of reports and the overall programme and to agree joint strategies for promoting professional rights of journalists in the region.

· Organisation of collective bargaining seminars focusing on good-faith bargaining techniques, arguments for the collective agreements, structures for dialogue with media owners

· Training seminars on the rights of women and the rights of minorities in the union

Specific trade union development programmes are organised in Botswana, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe in 2003. These projects include a support to the organisation of recruitment drive involving production of leaflets on basic journalists’ rights, the training of union organisers and the drafting of collective agreements.

Strengthening regional cooperation

The Media for Democracy programme supports the networking of three regional associations namely the West Africa Association of Journalists (WAJA), the Eastern Africa Journalists Association (EAJA) and the Southern Africa Association of Journalists (SAJA). Meetings and seminars have been organised within the MFD programme, focusing on issues such as freedom of information, law and practice, status of journalists and working conditions of journalists. The seminars aimed at promoting basic standards of professional conduct as well as developing strategies to improve conditions for independent journalism. These activities have been promoting solidarity at regional level.