January 10, 2002

Journalists form trade union

Journalists and media workers in Tanzania have launched a trade union to fight for their wellbeing and ensure a healthy working environment prevails. The first of its kind in the country, the Tanzania Union of Journalists (TUJ) was launched on January 6, at a historic press gathering. "TUJ provides a medium for the Tanzanian press members to air and solve their long standing grievances such as low pay and general harassment by employers and the state," said the Union’s President, Jesse Kwayu.

TUJ membership, according to Kwayu, is exclusive to employed journalists from both state-owned and media houses in the country, a condition decreed by the Tanzanian Trade Union Act of 1998, which restricts trade union membership to employed parties only. The Swedish Ambassador to Tanzania Sten Rylander, who also took part in the gathering, praised the Tanzanian journalists’ move to form a trade union as "a timely initiative". He said a media trade union is an indispensable mechanism for press freedom in Africa. The outspoken Swedish envoy criticised Zimbabwean Information Minister Jonathan Moyo, a journalist turned politician who upon getting into the power corridors had betrayed his own profession by constantly harassing scribes in his country, he said. (THE EXPRESS)

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