Malawi media union plans wages and rights improvement campaign: Concerned with reporters abuse

The Journalists Union of Malawi (Juma) is launching a members’ fronted campaign to curb sexual harassment, improve their wages, and push for policies that promote their safety and health.

Ndey Tampa Sosseh conducting the training. Pic: Juma.
Ndey Tampa Sosseh conducting the training. Pic: Juma.

Drawn from the three chapters of the union, the members identified challenges around the three thematic areas, as key impediments to their work.

“As a union we gave our members, especially the women folk, an opportunity to identify challenges both in the newsroom amd beyond. Most indicated there was sexual harassment perpetrated by male bosses in particular and fellow reporters.

“They also reported a growing trend of sexual harassment at the hands of some news sources. Meagre pay and inability by both their media houses and news sources and state security agents to ensure their safety as critical issues.

“Our campaign is to advocate for development of workplace policies that provide a conducive atmosphere. We also want to buttress our task of encouraging employers employee contracts, and better wages. Collective bargaining being a central tool to the process,” explained Juma President M’theto Lungu, on the side of the Gender Equity and Safety Awareness training in Salima.

Facilitated by Ghambian activist and journalist Ndey Tampa Sosseh, and Times Group reporter Mandy Pondani, the participants identified news sources such as members of parliamentarians, public relations officers, security agents, government officials and some religious leaders, apart from their bosses and male colleagues as major culprits.

Sosseh, who once headed the West Africa Journalists Association and the Malian union of journalists, said it was impressive that Juma and its members were geared to changing the landscape.

“The issues here are not unique to Malawi. But I am happy that we have been so open and brought the three campaign areas to light.

Your resolve to fight sexial harassment of female journalists, lobby for better and befittimg wages, and security is important in the leveraging your career and bringing quality media service for the development of Malawi,” she said.

The campaign will take two years and will be supported by the Norwegian Union of Journalists (NUJ), International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), and the Southern Africa Journalists

The training which attracted close to 30 participants, mostly females, focused on better salaries, workplace safety and sexual harassment.

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