Panafrican News Agency

Coronavirus: Leaders of African media associations call on gov’ts for support to work efficiently

Nairobi, Kenya (PANA) - Leaders of African media organisations have called on African governments to empower journalists to work efficiently in this trying moment of coronavirus (COVID-19).

The call was made at the launch of the Congress of African Journalists (CAJ) recently in Dakar, Senegal, a press statement issued here Sunday said.

The leaders also condemned all attacks on journalists and called for the release of all journalists in prison in Africa.

They also pledged to continue to engage with all governments, the African Union and partners in expanding freedom of expression and access to information for good governance and welfare of the people in Africa.

In an inaugural address, Alexandre Niyungeko, president of the interim governing council of the CAJ, and president of the Union of Burundi Journalists, commended all African journalists for their dedication to press freedom and access to information for the general public.

He said the CAJ would, among others, face the current challenging effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and its collateral impact on press freedom.

It will also address the safety of journalists and ensure their access to information and matters affecting them in the course of their work, he said.

Niyungeko stated: “On the launch of this Congress of African Journalists, we call on African governments to empower the journalists and media organisations to do their work efficiently in this trying moment of Covid-19.”

He added that, according to reports, many journalists had fallen sick or died of COVID-19.

Niyungeko said others had been victimised in the course of their duties as essential workers in the frontline to inform the general public.

“We condole with the victims and their families,” he added.

The inaugural meeting of the CAJ was hosted by the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and attended by officials from-Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya.

Other officials came from Nigeria, Senegal, Somalia, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, and Zimbabwe.

The congress set up an interim governing council of six members presided by Alexandre Niyungeko, president of the Union of Burundi Journalists.

Members of the council also included Foster Dongozi, secretary general of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists, vice-president; William Oloo, chairman of Kenya Correspondents Association, secretary; and Patricia Adjissekou, Secretary General of Togo Union of Independent Journalists.

The rest are Christopher Isiguzo, president of Nigeria Union of Journalists), Treasurer; and Aicha Ahmed Youssouf, president of Djibouti Union of the Press and Audiovisual.


-0-   PANA   DJ/RA   28Jun2020