From: Gabriel Baglo, Director, IFJ Africa Office
26 November 2008
RE: The first working Congress of the Federation of African Journalists in Kenya adopted rules and elected Steering Committee
The first working congress of the Federation of African Journalists (FAJ), took place in Nairobi, Kenya, 21-22 November 2008.
Delegates from journalists' unions and associations from thirty one (31) African countries attended the congress to discuss the issues affecting the media industry in Africa.
The congress was officially opened by Honourable Raila Odinga, Prime Minister of the Republic of Kenya who led a delegation from the government of Kenya to the congress. The opening ceremony was broadcast live by Kenya National Broadcaster, Kenya Broadcasting Corporation.
The congress adopted the Constitution, the rules of the organisation, a two-year working programme and elected a steering committee of seven members for a three year term. The adopted constitution expresses unwavering support for fundamental principles of trade unionism, press freedom and freedom of expression.
The delegates called for a new approach to eradicate harsh press laws that have been used to intimidate and suppress independent journalism in the continent, to campaign for the immediate release of all African journalists in prison and resolved to seek observer status at the African Union.
The congress also discussed the plight of African journalists in exile and the need to secure a favourable environment for them to go back home and continue their practice in journalism.
The FAJ congress expressed the common determination to provide African journalists with a single voice, strength, solidarity, and a federation to protect, promote and improve their rights, freedoms and interests.
The new Steering Committee of 7 members held its first meeting at the end of the Congress and elected amongst its members Omar Faruk Osman (Somalia) as President, Foster Dongozi (Zimbabwe) as Vice President and Ndey Tapha Sossey (The Gambia) as Honorary Treasurer.
The list of the Steering Committee:
1. Omar Faruk Osman Nur (President), Somalia
2. Foster Dongozi (Vice-President), Zimbabwe
3. Ms. Ndey Tapha Sossey (Honorary Treasurer), The Gambia
4. Zied El-Heni, Tunisia
5. Ibrahim Famakan Coulibaly, Mali
6. Jean Marc Soboth, Cameroon
7. Stephan Ouma Bwire, Uganda
8. Stanis Nkundiye, DR Congo
9. Albert Makgoba, South Africa
For further information contact the IFJ Africa Office: +221 33 842 01 43