At the opening session of the National Union of Somali Journalists’ fourth triennial General Meeting yesterday morning at Aljazeera Conference Hall in Galkayo, Puntland, delegates received greetings from IFJ sister unions.
African Regional Organisation of the International Federation of Journalists (ITUC-Africa), pan-African trade unions organisation representing 18 million members has convened solidarity message to NUSOJ General Assembly.
The 66 delegates, representing 652 members from the six NUSOJ branches, heard solidarity messages sent by the IFJ General Secretary, Anthony Bellanger on behalf of the global organisation as well as IFJ journalists’ unions as far as Peru in Latin America and France.
“We are very grateful for this magnificent show of friendship and solidarity from journalists to journalists and from trade union to trade union,” said Omar Faruk Osman, Secretary General of NUSOJ. “Such warm-hearted greetings demonstrate the respect many colleagues throughout the world have for our union and its fight for its independence.”
Anthony Bellanger, General Secretary, International Federation of Journalists (IFJ): “I strongly support the work of our affiliate in Somalia, NUSOJ, facing attacks against journalism and trade unionism. I ask the Somalian government and media owners to negotiate with journalists and trade unionists in one of most dangerous countries in the world.“
Kwasi Adu-Amankwah, General Secretary, African Regional Organisation of International Trade Unions Confederation (ITUC-Africa): “ITUC-AFRICA salutes the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) on the occasion of your General Assembly. We salute your courage and ability to convene in spite of the efforts of anti democratic forces to prevent you from doing so. ITUC-Africa entreats you to make full use of this occasion to renew your commitment to freedom of expression and the fulfilment of the demands of internal democracy within your organization. We are confident that in keeping with the theme of your Assembly “Our Safety, Our Rights”, you will come out with conclusions that strengthen your organization and its members in the continuing defence and promotion of democratic rights of all working people.“
Zuliana Lainez Otero, General Secretary, Asociacion nacional de periodistas, Peru: “In recent years we have closely followed the leadership of NUSOJ in your country. Somalia is a country where journalists’ safety is threatened and therefore there is a need for organisations that strengthen the voice of journalists. A voice that demands freedom, security and rights at work.”
Michelle Stanistreet, General Secretary, National Union of Journalists, UK and Ireland: “The situation for our sister union and colleagues in Somalia is of deep concern to the NUJ and we are calling on the British and Irish governments to do all they can to establish an end to the unacceptable intimidation of journalists and attempts to suppress trade union leaders. Deliberate and crude attempts to silence journalists and quash legitimate trade union activity will not be ignored by our union and we continue to offer our support to you.”
Patrick Kamenka, National Union of Journalists-CGT France: “We are on your side when you are fighting to defend your rights as journalists as well as trade unionists against all kinds of oppressions either from government or from media owners… Solidarity is the key between unions and journalists all over the world.”
Sadiq Al-Reizagi, President, Sudan Journalists Union (SJU): “We declare our full solidarity with you comrades in NUSOJ in the challenges you face day in day out, and we affirm our complete support to you so that we stand together under the circumstances that surround you and hinder your work as journalists and trade union. Sudan Journalists Union is very proud to have very close working relationship with NUSOJ in Eastern Africa, Africa and Internationally”.
Raffaele Lorusso, General Secretary, Federazione Nazionale della Stampa Italiana (FNSI): “Solidarity to the 4th General Assembly of NUSOJ, Your fight against your national government to preserve trade union rights and press freedom should be supported by the IFJ. Italian journalists are ready to do it as well as in the past.”
Dominique Pradalié, Secretary General, Syndicat National des Journalistes (SNJ-France): “On behalf of my Union, the National Union of Journalists, le Syndicat National des Journalistes de France, I want to address our best and sincere wishes for your 4th congress which is going to take place on July the 3rd and 4th. We want to assure you of our complete solidarity.”
Stanis Nkundiye, President of USYPAC (Central Africa Journalists’ Association : “I want to congratulate you for the recent achievement of NUSOJ, one of the strongest journalists unions in Africa. The battle NUSOJ won last year in Geneva during the 325th session of ILO is the demonstration that your fight is right and the final victory is coming very soon. We encourage all of you to continue this fight for the rights of journalists in Somalia. Viva NUSOJ, Solidarity for ever!”
S. N. Sinha, President, Indian Journalists Union (IJU): “We send you warm greetings from Indian Journalists Union and best wishes for a successful 4th General Assembly. It is well known that Somalia is one the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists. Over the years numerous journalists have been killed and many detained in their determined bid to report freely. We do understand that the NUSOJ has been working tirelessly for a safer working environment and rights of its members. The IJU, being the most representative body of working journalists in the country, offers to extend all help in your endeavour to fight for your safety and rights.”