SJS, SOMA sign a historic MOU to defend press freedom and improve media professionalism in Somalia

MOGADISHU, Somalia, 13 September 2021 – Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) and the Somali Media Association (SOMA) today signed a historic Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which paves the way for enhancing media freedom, improving media professionalism and protecting journalists’ rights at the work places, safety and well-being of Somali journalists.

In an event held in Mogadishu, SJS Secretary General and SOMA Secretary General signed the 18-article document with the presence of SJS and SOMA officials, media managers and journalists.

SJS and SOMA also announced that other media and journalists’ networks are free to join in this endeavour in order to ensure free and stable press in Somalia.

SJS Secretary General, Abdalle Ahmed Mumin (front right) and SOMA Secretary General, Mohamed Osman Makaran (front left) sign MOU in Mogadishu on Monday 13 September, 2021. | PHOTO CREDIT/SJS.

“Today, on behalf of Somali Journalists Syndicate and the entire Somali media fraternity, I am glad to sign this important Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with our colleagues from the employers’ association —the Somali Media Association. This gives our two organisations the strength to collaborate and defend media freedom and work hand-in-hand in advocating for journalists’ rights. it will also pave the way for ensuring gender equality, professionalizing media and improving the quality of the media content,” Abdalle Ahmed Mumin, SJS Secretary General said.

“Carrying out media development, press freedom and freedom of expression requires complex and extensive collaboration which involves national, regional and international actors. That is why SJS and SOMA have been working jointly since last year and we have achieved many successes in defending journalists’ and media rights. Through this new partnership, we hope to achieve even more,’ added Mr. Mumin.

SJS Secreteray General, Abdalle Ahmed Mumin speaks after the signing the Memorandum of Understanding between SJS and SOMA in Mogadishu on Monday 13 September, 2021. | PHOTO CREDIT/SJS.

“It is a historic day for the quest of free and independent press in Somalia. SOMA reiterates its commitment towards media freedom. Somali journalists and media houses have suffered a lot and they are facing even more threats than ever,” Mohamed Osman Makaran, SOMA Secretary General said. “Partnership with SJS will give protection to journalists, improve their safety and protect freedom of the press. Indeed, this partnership means to ensure increased impact for our joint efforts that our two organisations have been doing together.”

SOMA Secretary General, Mohamed Osman Makaran speaks following the signing of the MOU between SJS and SOMA in Mogadishu, on Monday 13 September, 2021. | PHOTO CREDIT/SJS.

Below is the translated version of the Memorandum of Understanding signed by SJS and SOMA today:

1) Defending and advocating for media freedom, freedom of expression and the right to access to information.

2) Promoting an independent, sustainable and stable media in Somalia.

3) Improving the skills of media workers and enhancing their professional capacity.

4) Improving the quality of the local media content to reflect the needs and interests of the Somali people before, after and during the elections.

5) Ensuring media safety and security of journalists and staff in order to safely carry out their duties.

6) Improving working conditions of the journalists and improving their rights in terms of wages and other rights such as leave, health insurance and workplace security.

7) Strengthening media and journalists’ professionalism and their independence, and ensuring that media houses and their journalists are free from all interference and so that media institutions can fulfil their obligations towards achieving positive social change and better communities in Somalia.

8) Providing legal protection for journalists and media outlets whenever they are attacked as a result of their journalistic work.

9) Protecting the rights of women journalists in employment and equal pay and ensuring gender equality in the newsrooms.

10) Protecting the freedom of the press and preventing all forms of censorship.

11) Encouraging journalists working for SOMA member media houses to participate in SJS membership drive and advocating for trade union rights within the media houses.

12) Supporting the media outlets and journalists in distress, threatened or attacked, and participating in media freedom campaigns when needed.

13) Assisting media outlets in formulating and enforcing the Code of Conduct for Journalists and the Code of Safety.

14) Developing editors’ guide to protect freedom of expression and editorial content in accordance with international standards of freedom of expression.

15) Assist editors, managers and journalists across Somalia in building their professional capacity through training, workshops and other educational programs.

16) Creating a platform where knowledge, experience and other key information necessary for development can be shared between media managers and editors.

17) Assisting women journalists in taking up key management positions in the media outlets.

18) SJS and SOMA will collaborate and partner with other international organisations to defend the freedom of the media, journalists and their development and enhancement of the Somali media landscape.