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Since the second half of March, Togo has been living in slow motion. In some areas such as sports, it is a total standstill.

All competitions have been suspended. On March 26, 2020 the Togolese Football Federation decided to end the 2019-2020 season. This context profoundly influenced the work of the sports press.

New rhythm of work

Regarding work, all sports journalists in Togo are affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Due to the suspension of competitions and sport activities from all sports entities, sports information is scarce. Apart from a few sporadic and punctual sports events, there is no more information to fill the pages dedicated to sports in newspapers and websites and to document the programmes on TV and radio.

However, sports journalists are being very innovative to create content. Most of them are using archival materials, doing portrait or making interviews with different sports personalities to have their opinion on current or past news.

The financial challenges

The health crisis is financially painful for sports journalists. Majority of Togolese sports journalists are temporary workers. Many are paid on the basis of the articles they produce, news reports, coverage of competitions, etc. Only those working in the public sector and those working for Sport FM Lomé, a thematic radio station, are working with a contract.

In the absence of competitions, many are deprived of income. As media groups are no longer operating in a regular way, freelancers are no longer doing any work. These are the real victims of the coronavirus pandemic. They are struggling to stay afloat because their precarious situation has taken on an unbearable proportion.

As part of the solidarity action to alleviate the suffering of the people of the capital Lomé, the government has launched an operation of financial support. This operation aims to provide aid to certain groups considered vulnerable, and they receive the sum of 10 US$ twice a month. Unfortunately, journalists are not benefiting from this aid, because they are considered as fully paid employees. But this is not the case for many of them.

Source: Kodjo Avuletey – AJST

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