Dr. Muheldin Ahmed Idris Titawi – President
Mr. Omar Faruk Osman – Secretary General
Journalists’ Unions and Associations in Eastern Africa gathered for the first time in Nairobi, Kenya, in 1997 thanks to funding from the Media for Democracy in Africa Programme (MFDA) of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ). The main topics discussed by journalists’ leaders and representatives included independent journalism, democratic media structures, good governance and development of democracy. By the end of the meeting, the Eastern Africa Journalists Association (EAJA) was launched.
Later on at a regional conference in Nairobi in November 9–10, 2000, journalists’ unions and associations from Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania met and re-affirmed the Eastern Africa Journalists Association as the regional network of journalists’ unions and associations.
The new association, in its early days, did not spring immediately into action and in February 2003, leaders and representatives of journalists unions and associations once more met in Nairobi and resolved to seek to revive the Eastern Africa Journalists Association, after years of inactivity. This time they set out specific objectives: to Safeguard, preserve and protect the rights of journalists across the Eastern Africa region; to fight for the welfare and working conditions of Journalists in the region; to organize forums for journalists so they can share experience; to promote professionalism; and to promote the free flow of information in the region.
They also agreed that the EAJA Secretariat was to be located in Nairobi and will rotate among member countries for a period of two years. This meeting was also supported by the International Federation of Journalists.
During the 2004 IFJ World Congress held in Athens, Greece, the journalists’ unions and associations from Eastern Africa took stock of the progress made so far. There was a consensus that the EAJA was not performing well and this was mainly due to the lack of statute governing its activities.
In September 2007, leaders of the journalists’ unions and associations met in Djibouti for two days to consider a constitution and a programme of work. Five Executive Committee members were elected and the meeting also decided to transfer the headquarters of EAJA to Djibouti.
The activities set out for the association focuses on freedom of expression, freedom of the press, working conditions of journalists, rights and interests of journalists, safety of journalists and other media workers, gender equality, good governance, socio-economic issues, peace, social justice, democracy and freedoms, and conflict resolution.
Our vision statement reflects the overall ambition of EAJA. It serves as the baseline from which our Strategy is developed.
EAJA’s vision is: a region in which journalists enjoy freedom of expression, freedom of association, trade union rights, better working and living conditions, where media is independent from political, economical and commercial interests, and the people are free to express themselves through any media of their choice without any difficulty.
Our mission statement communicates our purpose and indicates who we are, what we do and whom we serve:
EAJA’s mission is: to defend and promote journalists rights and interests by championing press freedom and favourable working environment in an ethical, competent and professional media environment in furtherance of freedom of expression, application of trade union rights, good governance and accountability.
- To promote, protect and advocate for Freedom of Expression and Media Rights in eastern Africa.
- To promote democratic and independent journalists trade unions in Eastern Africa that contribute to democratic development processes in each of the respective countries and the region.
- To build the Institutional and Professional capacities of EAJA, national journalist organizations and individual journalists to ensure strong, effective, credible, accountable and efficient journalists organizations and professional and skilled journalists.
In its endeavour to execute its constitutional mandate, vision, mission and strategic objectives, the Eastern Africa Journalists Association will be guided by the following code values:
- Commitment and passion for freedom of expression, freedom of information, freedom of association and trade union rights.
- Integrity, transparency, accountability in all operations.
- Professionalism, effectiveness, efficiency and responsibility.
- Solidarity, unity in diversity, inclusiveness, respect and tolerance.
- Innovative and creativity.
- Justice, Equality and Internal Democracy.