A delegation from the International Federation of Journalists and the Federation of African Journalists (FAJ) today met in Accra John Dramani Mahama, President of the Republic of Ghana.
The delegation, comprising Jim Boumelha, President of the IFJ, Omar Faruk Osman, President of FAJ, Mohamed Garba, President of the West African Journalists Association (WAJA), Bright Blewu and Ransford Tetteh, respectively General Secretary and President of Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), and Shuaibu Usman Leman, National Secretary of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), stressed the importance of the current dialogue between government and journalists, in particular the urgent need to improve the working conditions of journalists working in the private sector.
"The Ghanaian president, a trained journalist, understands full well the role that journalists have been playing in championing the public interest and defending a range of democratic values that have made Ghana a model of stability in Africa. Our message to him was that his government should create the best possible conditions for journalists and their organisation to upgrade the status of journalists and improve their wages and conditions," said the IFJ president Jim Boumelha.
The delegation urged President Mahama to champion the need for binding instruments within the African Union to curb the violence against journalists and put an end to the culture of impunity prevalent in many countries. In response, the president promised that his country would seek to table a FAJ-drafted resolution that, if adopted, would legally bind member States of the African Union to protect and guarantee the safety of journalists in Africa.
"Safety and protection of journalists are cornerstone in our fight to achieve freedom of expression," said Omar Faruk Osman, FAJ President. "The commitment and support of Ghana in our campaign for safe journalism in our continent is a tremendous boost to our effort to win support."
The meeting took place on the eve of 17th Awards ceremony of Ghana Journalists Association.