LOMÉ, October 14, 2020 – Sport journalists are still feeling the impact of the almost seven months of restrictions imposed by the government towards addressing Covid-19 pandemic. From the decrease in financial income to lack of reporting opportunities and, unfortunately, the loss of jobs, the situation of sport press in Togo is quite embarrassing.
Like all the actors of the world of sport, sport journalists are looking forward to the resumption of sport activities. This has been slow to happen and, at various levels, there is incomprehension and even annoyance at the government’s hesitation to unfreeze the restrictions.
It is reported that the coronavirus health crisis has led to the worst for sport journalists. In addition to the difficulties that came with the decision of some media group managers to reduce the amount of wages in several media houses, layoffs are also reported.
“In our media, the administration has cut wages in one way or another. But that’s not all. Some of our people were simply laid off. Colleagues have lost their jobs,” explained a colleague from a reputable website in Togo.
Even the least unfortunate continue to suffer from the consequences of reduced income. “I didn’t have fixed or regular income for the work I was doing with the two editorial offices where I work. The little income I had came from the transport costs paid by some event organisers. With the health crisis, I’m unfortunately deprived of this temporary financial support,” says Dela Ayité, a young sports reporter in Lomé.
Support from the federation
The only new fact is that the Togolese Football Federation has been so kind to give financial support to the National Sport Press Association (AJST). The aid, amounting to US$4,000, is intended to support sports journalists in this delicate and painful situation created by the coronavirus pandemic.
“This financial support is welcome. Considering the important number of sport journalists who are living hard situations, we have thought about the best way to make everyone benefit from it. Workshops and a symposium are also planned,” AJST president Sylvestre Gounoubou said. The aim is to kill two birds with one stone: “to provide participants with the necessary tools for better journalistic practice and to support them with a few attendance bonuses,” he added.
The federal support is part of the Covid-19 solidarity funds allocated to national federations by FIFA. These funds have been distributed equally to clubs in the different divisions.