IFJ holds Youth Working Group Webinar Meeting
Young journalists across Africa are facing huge challenges, including job cuts, reduced wages, a lack of protective equipment and working conditions amid the Covid-19 pandemic, according to members of the International Federation of Journalists’ Youth Working Group.
The IFJ organised a webinar for young journalists’ representatives from IFJ affiliates in Ghana, Angola, Botswana, Liberia, The Gambia Sierra Leone and Uganda to debate the impact of Covid-19 on the working conditions of young journalists, challenges faced by digital media, and youth recruitment in their unions.
Participants highlighted the huge challenges confronting journalists in regards to the loss of jobs, huge deduction of salaries, the lack of any form of protective gear and a lack of resources. Some participants, while recognising that media had suffered a huge fall in advertising revenue, criticised harsh decisions taken by management to sack journalists or cut pay. Young journalists were the first to suffer in such circumstances.
The meeting also highlighted that working at home was not only a new experience but a huge challenge for most young journalists. “Most media houses do not have the resources to provide the necessary equipment like smart phones to all of their workers especially those working in the field” one participant said. The situation was even more dire for freelance journalists who only receive payment when their stories are published and in many cases were facing restrictions on movement because they did not have the necessary permits.
The meeting agreed on the need for young journalists to work more closely with their unions in developing and launching campaigns that advocate for better working conditions for younger workers under COVID 19, improving communication at the level of the union and enhancing the Youth Working Group’s activities in the recruitment of more young journalists to the unions.