The Congress of African Journalists(CAJ) was on June 23, 2020, launched in Abuja, Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory, by leaders of journalism unions and associations in Africa, to address the challenging effects of COVID-19 and the collateral impacts on press freedom, the safety of journalists, and access to information
The CAJ also set-up an Interim Governing Council of six members AlexandreNiyungeko, President of Union of Burundi Journalists as President and Foster Dongozi, Secretary-General of Zimbabwe Union of Journalists as Vice-President.
Hosted by the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), the inaugural meeting had participants from participants from Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, Somalia, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, and Zimbabwe in attendance.
Other members of the Interim Governing Council are William Oloo, Chairman of Kenya Correspondents Association as Secretary; Patricia Adjissekou, Secretary General of Togo Union of Independent Journalists as Treasurer; Christopher Isiguzo, President of Nigeria Union of Journalists, and Aicha Ahmed Youssouf, President of Djibouti Union of the Press and Audiovisual as members.
Speaking after the inauguration, the Interim President of CAJ said: “On the launch of this Congress of African Journalists we commend all African journalists for their dedication to press freedom and access to information for the general public. We call on African Governments to empower the journalists and media organisations to do their work efficiently in this trying moment of COVID19.”
He noted that many journalists have fallen sick or died of COVID19, and others have been victimised in the course of their duties as essential workers in the frontline to inform the general public, saying: “We condole with the victims and their families.”
He said the CAJ condemns all attacks on journalists, and calls for the release of all journalists in prison in Africa.
He promised the CAJ will 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.