African Journalists' Leaders Back Global Unions' Stand over Workers' Rights at UN Climate Change Summit

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its African group, the Federation of African Journalists (FAJ) today joined the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) to demand recognition of workers' rights at the United Nations Climate Change Summit 2011, COP 17 / CMP 7 which is taking place in Durban, South Africa.

"We welcome the participation of African journalists' leaders in this important debate on shaping the future of our lives and livelihoods," said Beth Costa, IFJ General Secretary. "Climate change has far reaching implications for workers' rights, including journalists'. It is entirely appropriate that our African members join forces with the ITUC to make the strongest case for workers." 

The IFJ African group, the Federation of African Journalists (FAJ), backed the ITUC which today denounced the decision of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to hold the 2012 UN Climate change Talks in Qatar. In a statement, the ITUC said that the announcement "sent waves of concern through labour unions around the world as Qatar has been a permanent barrier in climate negotiations."

"We shall oppose any attempts to shut out the voice of workers, including journalists, in these discussions and Qatar has a poor record on workers' rights," said Omar Faruk Osman, FAJ President who is leading the IFJ and FAJ delegation to the Summit in Durban. 

The FAJ also says African journalists have a crucial role to provide accessible information to peoples on the continent about climate change talks and urged the UNFCCC to facilitate their work in this regard.

"Climate change is of paramount importance to peoples in Africa but there is an alarming failure to communicate and lack of advocacy which impact on the public awareness of the subject," added Osman. "African journalists have a pivotal role in informing the public on climate change and holding governments to account over their environmental policies."

The FAJ in cooperation with Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) will hold in Durban a major conference of journalists' unions leaders under the theme of "African Journalists & their Role in Tackling the Perils of Climate Change" during the Summit.

 For more information contact the IFJ/FAJ at    +27 786 971 738

 The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 131 countries worldwide

 The FAJ represents over 50,000 journalists in 40 countries in Africa