In his official address to the participants at the workshop, FAJ President Ibrahim Alsadig Ahmed Ibrahim said that the African media is confronted with many challenges. African journalists, he said, work under very difficult circumstances yet still receive starvation wages that cannot help them to sustain their families. “Young journalists coming into the profession are exploited by both their employers at home and the foreign media houses that they work for, as they work for very long hours and cover dangerous grounds without any form of insurance or benefits.” He added that FAJ has not been silent in denouncing these issues and had called on media owners to improve the working conditions of journalists and for governments to create the conducive environment for the media to flourish.
CJTU President, Denis Nkwebo, said that the internet has created a lot of opportunities for young journalists especially those with the required skills but this should not be taken for granted. These developments, he said, have been positive for the CJTU in the sense that membership especially of young journalists have hit a record high which the union is very proud of.
The two-day workshop deliberated on critical issues concerning the freedom of expression of journalists working online and challenges with regards to the safety of journalists online and new legislations governing the use of the internet. The young journalists at the workshop also discussed strategies that unions should utilize to recruit more young journalists. Concerns were also raised with regards to the harassment and intimidation of journalist working online, especially female journalists who are victims of online bullying and trolling. There was a clarion call by the young journalists on the unions to develop youth policies and design activities and programme that will attract young journalists. They recommended that there should be periodic sensitization by the unions on trade union development.