Pan African Society of African Journalists (SAJ) association initiated

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Pan African Society of African Journalists (SAJ) association initiated

Mohamed Ibrahim Moalimuu (centre) the secretary general of the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) and former BBC and Reuters correspondent, who is part of the Society of African Journalists (SAJ), during a tour in Finland yesterday (Monday) with executives of the Finland Union of Journalists.

Ngoni Dapira
ON 25 May 1963 the Organization of African Union (OAU) was formed to usher a new era of propagating the ideology of pan Africanism. It’s now almost 56-years after with the African Union now in place, but sadly for the African media industry this ideology was never broadly incorporated despite the crucial role that the fourth estate plays as the watchdog of society.

However, within this historic month of May, the recent birth of the Society of African Journalists (SAJ), a pan African journalists forum, for media practitioners from print, electronic, bloggers, online media as well as citizen journalists from across the continent, may usher a new chapter for Africa’s media landscape in terms of integration and networking of African journalists, says its founding member Michael Adeboboye.

Michael Adeboboye

SAJ which was a brainchild of Adeboboye, a veteran journalist from Nigeria, aims to bring journalists and all forms of media practitioners of African origin under an umbrella for common goals, working with journalists to help shape the future of the media industry, enabling them to recognize the challenges, threats and opportunities in the digital era.

Adeboboye said SAJ will step up things from where organisations such as the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) Africa and the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) have done preliminary work but failed to drive the pan African vision and unite more African journalists beyond borders. “SAJ will not only develop projects and campaigns in support of the fight for the rights and welfare of journalists but also focus on the development of independent and quality journalism in support of democratic, social and economic development, uniting African journalists to tell the African story by Africans in the process,” he said.

He added that SAJ will address pan-Africanism as a movement that aims to encourage and strengthen bonds of solidarity between all indigenous and diasporan ethnic groups of African descent, with focus on modern day journalism challenges which are fast being revolusionised by the advent of globalization and the digital era, also not leaving out the gender balance discourse.

SAJ, which started in April merely as the African Journalist’s Platform on Whats App and Facebook in less than a month now has an accumulative number of journalists from 14 countries comprising of Gambia, Somalia, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Angola, South Africa, Cameroon, Nigeria, Ghana, Lesotho and Sierra Leone, with a diaspora chapter that so far comprises of membership in the United Kingdom (UK), United States of America (USA) and Germany.

“Society of African Journalists is actually an umbrella where we hope to fine tune journalism and journalists in terms of their welfare, rights of practitioners in Africa that are enshrined on freedom of the press and freedom of expression as well as media plurality. From all indication, the formation of SAJ has heralded a new era in journalism for Africa as it will be the first pan African media body to fully incorporate and integrate online media, blogging and other forms of nonconventional media into its fold, and not just focus on conventional media practitioners,” said Adeboboye.

He added that SAJ is however still to officially launch in the next few months, but already all due diligence has been done to see through the fruition of the initiative to operate as a properly registered and constitutional association.

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