IFJ elects first African President at congress in Tunis


Delegates at the 2019 Congress of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) have, for the first time in history, elected an African as President of the IFJ.

Younes Mjahed from Morocco polled 200 votes as against 110 votes by his main challenger Martin O’Hanlon from Canada at the IFJ Congress in the Tunisian capital, Tunis, to become the first African President of the 93-year-old federation.

The African caucus were said to have voted en bloc for the first time, as all 53 delegates from the continent voted for Younes Mjahed in a determined effort to re-script the history of IFJ as far as its presidency is concerned.

Another significant outcome of the Congress was the election of three Africans to the 16-member IFJ Executive Committee, a statement issued in Accra by Kofi Yeboah, the General Secretary of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) said.

They are Zeid Dabbar from Tunisia, Omar Osman from Australia and Maria Calvaho from Angola.

Unfortunately, the President of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), Affail Monney, missed out narrowly in the election to become the first Ghanaian to serve on the IFJ Executive Committee.

“Whatever happens, we give thanks to God for the grace to beat plenty people across the globe,” he told GJA National Executive members.

The Congress, which began on Tuesday, June 11, 2019 and ended Friday June 14, 2019, discussed a wide-range of issues, including the safety and welfare of journalists across the world.

The IFJ is the largest global federation of journalists’ trade unions and associations, which aims at protecting and strengthening the rights and freedoms of journalists.

The GJA has been a long-standing affiliate member of the IFJ, contributing significantly to the aspirations and development of the federation over the years.

The GJA President is expected to return home from the congress on Monday, June 17, 2019.