UNESCO supported second FAJ congress of african journalists in Zimbabwe
UNESCO supported the second continental congress of the Federation of African Journalists (FAJ), the African regional organization of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), which was convened in Harare, Zimbabwe, from 27th-28th March 2010.
The congress was attended by leaders of African journalists and senior trade unionists, and is the first and the largest summit of journalists organized in the country since the political and economic crisis which severely affected human and trade union rights, including freedom of expression, press freedom and freedom of association.
The delegates of the congress adopted a three year programme of priority activities covering decent work, and safe and secure working environment for journalists as well as promoting ethical journalism and media accountability. The congress was a major opportunity to further strengthen the traditional democratic culture among African journalists' unions and associations.
A Steering Committee was elected for a mandate of three years, which comprised members from Nigeria, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tunisia, Somalia, Gambia and Zimbabwe. Omar Faruk Osman from Somalia was re-elected as the president of FAJ as were Foster Dongozi from Zimbabwe and Ndey Tapha Sessoh of the Gambia, respectively as vice-president and treasurer.
"Our African affiliates consolidated their efforts to maintain unity and promote and defend decent work and better working conditions for African journalists," said Jim Boumelha, President of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) who attended the two-day congress. "The congress was a true manifestation of the commitment of African journalists unions to build strong and effective unions for working journalists, address safety issues and improve professional standards."
"The success of this continental congress is proof of the new spirit of our African affiliates and their determination to consolidate in a very short time their solidarity, democratic tradition and struggle for freedom and justice" said Omar Faruk.
At the opening ceremony inaugurated by Minister of Finance Tendai Biti, representing Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tschvangarai, key speakers including UNESCO Deputy Assistant Director General Mogens Schmidt, Secretary General of the Zimbabwe Trade Unions Congress (ZCTU), Wellington Chibebe and Pansy Tlakula, Special Rapporteur of Freedom of Expression and Access to Information of the African Commission of Human and Peoples Rights, addressed the acute challenges faced by journalists throughout the continent.
The IFJ President hailed the achievements of the Federation since its first working congress of November 2008 in Nairobi, Kenya, in particular its efforts to improve the working conditions of African journalists and to defend press freedom.
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