Somalia’s veteran journalist and trade unionist Omar Faruk Osman has been elected to the Executive Committee of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) in a highly contested race that saw the Secretary General of the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) voted into the global body’s most vital organ.
The elections which took place on Thursday in the Tunisian capital Tunis, where the 30th IFJ World Congress was hosted saw Mr Osman elected with 15 others to the IFJ Executive Committee which will steer the organization’s activities for the next three years.
The election also saw Morocco’s Younes Mjahed being elected to the Presidency of IFJ – the first time an African is taking over the global body of Journalists which brings together 187 unions and journalists associations from 141 countries across the globe.
Osman garnered 192 votes out of a possible 316 vote, attaining well above the minimum 100 votes needed to make it to the IFJ ExCom, after becoming Africa’s consensus candidate to the global body’s governing committee.
“It is a vote of confidence for me and my union NUSOJ. I believe Africa and the world wants me to continue our vital work of advocating for press freedom, fighting for labour rights and the well-being of journalists, not only in Somalia and Africa but also globally,”
“I reiterate my commitment to continue serving and would like to thank everybody who participated in the elections. This is a landmark win not only for my union NUSOJ and my country Somalia but also for Africa because for the first time we have an African at the helm of IFJ,” said Osman.
The veteran Somali journalist and trade unionist won the confidence of journalist unions and associations from Africa, Arab World, Europe, Asia, Latin America and North America in a vote which constitutes a ringing endorsement for NUSOJ’s campaign for free expression and union rights.
The 30th IFJ Congress which started on June 11 and ended on June 14th, and unanimously approved a resolution tabled by NUSOJ delegation to the IFJ congress on fighting impunity of crimes committed against Somali journalists, reiterating the call for Somalia to respect press freedom and ensure protection of journalists.
On the first day of the congress, a solidarity march in the memory of the 271 journalists who perished since the IFJ last Congress in Angers, France, three years ago was held with journalists urging global leaders to ensure freedom of press and expression and investigate attacks on journalists.
Representing more than 600,000 journalists, IFJ is the biggest global body of journalists which seeks to fight, protect and enhance the social and professional rights of journalists across the world.