The Kenya Union of Journalists (KUJ) in collaboration with the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) held a two –day seminar on ‘New Organising Freelance Journalists and Trade Unions’ under the Union To Union (UTU) Undertaking 2023 (Building Union Energy for Democratic Rights, Media Freedom and First rate Work) from 23 – 24 October, in Nairobi, Kenya. The seminar introduced collectively 20 freelance journalists with each other with the government customers of the KUJ to address the troubles experiencing freelance journalists in Kenya and how to build tactics to recruit a lot more freelance journalists into the union.
In his welcome address to the participants at the seminar, the Secretary Normal of the KUJ, Erick Charles Oduor, claimed that KUJ has opened its doorways to all freelance journalists to be part of the union in buy to assistance them protect their rights and welfare. ‘Initially, our Constitution did not allow freelance journalists and correspondents to be a part of our union. Nonetheless this was modified in 2016 and even more amended in 2020 letting far more freelance journalists and correspondents to sign up for the KUJ’. “KUJ,” he additional, “has the potential to get to out to freelance journalists in all the regions of the nation and will perform to layout marketing campaign tactics that are specially created to recruit freelance journalists. We have by now set out a goal for ourselves to improve our figures by upcoming yr.”
The President of the Association of Freelance Journalists (AFJ) in Kenya, Winnie Kamau, stated that numerous freelance journalists do not have assets these kinds of as cameras and recorders to facilitate their get the job done. ‘For most of us the contracts that we signed with the media residences are not honoured and we deficiency the power to negotiate for much better spend for our stories. The contracts have no indicator relating to the amount of hrs or days that we get the job done either does it deliver any variety of security or defense system in situation a freelance journalist encounters hazard even though engaging in an assignment’. This typically affects freelance investigative journalists who are mostly uncovered to quite critical threats. She extra that feminine freelance journalists are also sexually harassed from sources on the floor.
The Director of the IFJ Africa Place of work, Pa Louis Thomasi in his solidarity assertion explained that freelance journalists are usually as well detached from the unions and this is primarily because of to their lack of recognition relating to the mandate and capacities of the union. ‘Freelance journalists are mostly exploited by media house owners simply due to the fact they are not unionised’. He emphasised that only unions have the electric power to negotiate collective agreements and referred to as on freelance journalists to be a part of the KUJ in buy to set a quit to the ruthless cycle of exploitation that they have been trapped into by media homeowners. Thomasi referred to as on the KUJ to include freelance journalists in their safety programmes and to continue on to guide them legally irrespective of the point that most of them are nonetheless to be customers of the union.
The two –day seminar dealt with different themes like the performing circumstances of freelance journalists in Kenya, gender equality and ILO Conference 190, protection and stability of freelance journalists, freedom of association, the right to organise and collective bargaining, challenges facing feminine freelance journalists functioning on line and building campaigns for the recruitment of freelance journalists.