The Federation of African Journalists (FAJ) was launched during a conference in Abuja, Nigeria in 2007. The launching conference was followed by the constitutive congress in Nairobi Kenya in 2008. This was followed by three others congresses in Harare Zimbabwe in 2010, Casablanca Morocco in 2013, and Abuja Nigeria in 2016. The congress meets every three years. From the start, journalist trade unions and associations affiliated to the International Federation of Journalists came together to form a continental body of journalists’ trade unions in the media industry in Africa.
They represented the interests of their members in all media sectors, including electronic, broadcast and print, and those working as reporters, presenters, producers, freelancers or even editors at national, regional and international levels.
Their common objective was to work to improve the social and professional rights of their members, be they full time or freelance. FAJ is now the most representative, independent and democratic journalists’ movement in Africa.
The organisation has a mandate “to enforce trade union development in the media industry in Africa, to address professional matters, to protect and defend freedom of expression and information as well as journalists’ human rights, as laid down in the Declaration of Principles of Freedom of Expression in Africa”.
Being the first and largest democratic continental body of journalists that can provide adequate and effective representation for African journalists at Pan-African level, its launch meeting was hailed as a historical landmark on the road to achieving the unity of African journalists.
The Federation has scored several key successes in its endeavour to promote and protect the rights of journalists. It immediately received recognition and support from its parent organisation, the IFJ, and swiftly claimed its rightful position at the African Union, which recognised it as the legitimate voice of journalists and journalism in Africa.
It also attracts high-level participation and support from UNESCO and other donor agencies. Forging alliances with those outside the media community and trade union movement with similar objectives, it has already established an impressive track record in advocating social, political and economic advancement.
At its last Congress in April 2016, FAJ elected the following Steering Committee.
FAJ Steering Committee Members:
President: Abdulwaheed ODUSILE (Nigeria)
Vice-President: Maria Luisa ROGERIO (Angola)
Treasurer: Zied DABBAR (Tunisia)
Foster DONGOZI (Zimbabwe)
Alexandre NIYUNGEKO (Burundi)
Ibrahima NDIAYE (Senegal)
Denis NKWEBO (Cameroon)
Stephen Ouma BWIRE (Uganda)
Moussa TRAORE (Côte d’Ivoire)