Congress of African Journalists Gets Legal Status, Establishes Secretariat in Nairobi

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Christopher Isiguzo
President of African Congress of Journalists (ACJ) 

The Congress of African Journalists (CAJ) has been officially registered under the Laws of Kenyan and has established its continental headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya.

CAJ Governing Council announced the new development during a meeting held on September 21, 2022 and said the legal status will give it impetus in tackling journalists’ challenges in Africa.

The organization was launched on June 23, 2020 to address challenges on press freedom, the safety of journalists, and access to information, affecting journalists in the course of their work. CAJ aims to bring an African approach to these issues in line with African Union Agenda 2063 and African Renaissance.

CAJ intends to take up the mandate of protecting and defending freedom of expression and information as laid down in the Declaration of Principles of Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa.

During the Governing Council meeting, held virtually, Christopher Isiguzo from Nigeria was named the new president of CAJ, to replace the founding president Alexandre Niyungeko who stepped down due to other commitments. Mr. Niyungeko who is the president of the Burundi Union of Journalists (UBJ) will remain a member of the Governing Council. Mr. Isiguzo is also the President of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ).

The Secretary remains William Oloo from Kenya Correspondents Association (KCA) and the Treasurer, Ms. Monique Kacou from Cote d’Iviore. Other members of the Governing Council are Ibrahima Ndiaye (Senegal), Ms. Iddah Francis Mushi (Tanzania), Ms. Indira Correia Balde (Guinea – Bissau), Syabonga Dlamini (Swaziland), Abdalle Ahmed Mumin (Somalia), Ms. Patsy Athanase (Seychelles) and Emmanuel Chibwana (Malawi). The Governing Council will soon nominate a replacement for Foster Dongozi from Zimbabwe who passed on in December 2021.

“We are all elated about the registration of CAJ because this will enable it play its role in contributing to addressing the challenges facing journalists in Africa,” said outgoing president of CAJ, Alexandre Niyungeko.

On his part, Mr. Isiguzo, the new president said: “We welcome this development as it takes us forward and gives us a chance to assert our authority and move with speed to discharge our mandate of addressing problems facing journalists in Africa. CAJ restates its commitment to tackling the challenges facing journalists in the continent.”

CAJ endorsed the regional consultative forums on the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists (UNPA) led by UNESCO saying the outcome will contribute to improved efforts in addressing the safety of journalists in the continent.

“We will soon roll out a range of activities aimed at addressing the concerns of journalists in Africa and we invite journalists through their unions and associations, and partners to work with us in these endeavors,” said Mr. Isiguzo.