EAJA Bulletin - December 2000

East Africa Journalists Association

KENYA

KIHU Irimu, the Secretary General of the Kenya Union of Journalists has proposed radical changes which if effected would see the Union open up its membership to correspondents and other media workers such as printers and newspaper vendors. Mr.Irimu presented his proposals to the union's annual general meeting which was held on 25/11/200 in Nairobi. He suggested that the position of Secretary general should be fulltime to allow the occupant enough time to tackle union matters.

The members called upon the executive to re-activate the union whose state they described as "near collapse" due to ineffectiveness. The meeting held elections to fill vacant positions in the executive. Ezekiel Mutua was elected chairman While Mr. Irimu retained his post as Secretary General.

Meanwhile, the KUJ has set out to revive the moribund Kenya Press club. According to Mr. Denise Kodhe the governing council in charge of networking, the club will focus on creating professional and social welfare activities for journalists.

UGANDA

THE Uganda Journalists Union(UJU) has written a letter to the minister for information, protesting the ban on three staff columnists at the government daily owned New Vision. Joachim Buwembo-Editor Sunday Vision, Robert Kabushenga- Legal officer and John Kakande -deputy News editor were ordered to stop writing their weekly columns in the paper, which were often critical of the rgime.

According to a private daily the Monitor,the trio's commentaries were considered sensitive as the country heads for elections early 2001. President Museveni is facing the greatest challange to his leadership in these elections.

New Vision Editor Mr. William Pike said" The move was made by the board to enable us become more independent and let our staff concentrate on objective reporting". It later transpired that suspensions were ordered by the board chairman Mr. Ateker Ejalu on instructions from the Prsident's oficce. The board did ot discuss the issue.

In its letter the UJU says" the ban sets a precedent, a regression in the advance towards democracy in Uganda and it is regretable that the citizens should be punished for exercising their democratic rights.

THE management of the government owned New vision Daily has announced plans top help HIV positive employees access antiretrovial drugs used in management of HIV. Thepaper said it would met 50% of the monthly cost of drugs. The New vision is the first media company in East to make such an offer.

TANZANIA

STAKEHOLDERS of the Tanzania Media council have approved a draft bill by the council seeking legal recognition and extremely limiting the governments role in media and information issues. If passed in parliament then it would herald a new chapter in the Tanzania media by causing the amendment of certain antimedia laws. One such laws would be The Newspapers Act of 1976 which has in the passed threatened the survival of the media by imposing heavy fines on journalists.

THE Canadian International development agency CIDA has granted 26,220,000 Tanzania shillinhgs to the Association of Journalists and Media workers(AJM) to help revamp journalism in Tanzania. AJM chairman said the funds would be used to publish and distribute professional journals to journalists and other interested groups.

For further information please contact

Martin Ocholi

MFD Regional coordinator - East Africa

owan44@hotmail.com

Tel : +254 2 713910

With the Support of the European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights