Rwanda : Eastern Africa journalists’ unions call for improved working conditions
At the conclusion of a two day regional conference organized by the Eastern Africa Journalists Association (EAJA) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia last week, regional journalist called upon governments and media employers in the region to address the increasing the insecure situation of media workers in their countries.
The participants called for urgent and practical measures to address the deteriorating working conditions for media workers in the region through responsive labor laws and increased dialogue between the employers and workers organizations.
The conference focused on precarious employment conditions of journalists in Eastern Africa, strengthening trade unions and strengthening Collective bargaining Frameworks.
Participants comprised leaders from continental and regional trade union organizations and leaders of journalists unions affiliated to EAJA, drawn from Ethiopia, Somalia, Djibouti, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and Sudan.
They were unanimous that the precarious working environment of media workers undermined press freedom, other fundamental rights and the cause of democracy in the region.
According to a press statement from EAJA, key presentations were made by the Human and Trade Rights Coordinator at the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC-Africa) Joel Odigie, Executive Secretary, East Africa Trade Union Confederation (EATUC) Emmanuel Nzunda and Gabriel Baglo for IFJ.
“This workshop is an important step for journalists’ unions in the region as it has developed and adopted practical steps in our quest to address the precarious work environment,” said Omar Faruk Osman, EAJA Secretary General.
Addressing the opening session of the workshop, EAJA President Dr. Muheldin Ahmed Idris said the association will enhance its efforts in protecting the journalists in the region from adverse working conditions and violation of labor rights.
“A large number of journalists in Eastern Africa suffer from uncertain and unpredictable work conditions. Most of the journalists do not have secure and full time jobs and so we must make more efforts to protect their rights and the future of journalism,” said Idris.
Emphasizing the need for “robust engagement” with employers, government and other players, Baglo, said IFJ was ready to support the process of social dialogue to guarantee “concrete outcomes” that would address the needs of the journalists currently working under precarious conditions.