Journalists denied basic rights in Somalia
14 June 2013
The NUJ has joined with its sister union, the National Union of Somali Journalist (NUSOJ), to raise concerns about the continuing exploitation of journalists at Radio Bar Kulan (RBK) in Nairobi. The company who set up Radio Bar Kulan seem to benefit from the absence of a safe environment and the lack of law enforcement in Somalia.
RBK is based in Nairobi and the company are able to avoid signing contracts with journalists who are working for the station as reporters. The radio station RBK is managed by UK company Albany Associates and is not paying workers' health insurance, social insurance or accident insurance. Reporters without employment contracts are not able to claim their basic labour rights.
Journalists working for RBK are afraid for their lives and the wellbeing of their families – they face deadly attacks and RBK journalists do their jobs without public or company health and medical care, insurance or compensation.
For example, journalist Mohamed Nur Mohamed is employed by RBK and was shot and wounded, but, as a reporter at the radio station, he does not have a written contract. Since Mohamed has been in hospital, the company provided 500 dollars to him.
Most reporters at Radio Bar Kulan do not have written contracts of employment. Journalists at RBK have no terms and conditions such as hours, salary, holidays or rules governing employment and dismissal, grievance procedures, conditions of safety, security and heath. In addition to the lack of basic labour rights, there are no procedures for conciliation or arbitration in cases of dispute.
The lack of written employment contracts enables RBK to gain an unfair advantage, through UN funding, over competitors including Somali-owned private media houses.
Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary said:
"Day after day, journalists all over the world face many challenges working on the frontline. The National Union of Journalists (UK) calls on UK company Albany Associates to stop exploiting journalists basic labour rights abroad.
"We demand immediate improvements – the company should implement basic labour laws and improve the working conditions of reporters based in Kenya working on Somali news broadcasts."