More than 40 journalists from independent media and media organizations including Somali Media Association (SOMA), National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) and Somali Women Journalists (SWJ) had participated one day media law reform consultation meeting at Afrik Hotel in Mogadishu today Wednesday 17,2017.
The meeting was organized and facilitated by Somali Media Association (SOMA) and funded by International Media Support (IMS) and Fojo Institute. The meeting purposely focused on the identification of articles in the Somali media law that threaten media freedom in Somalia.
The consultation meeting comes after the current Minister of Information of the FGS his Excellency Abdirahman Omar Osman had pledged to assist the private media’s efforts to persuade the incumbent parliament of Somalia to bring the media law back to the parliament for adjustment. But the Information Minister urged the independent journalists and private media to identify all articles within the media law they find repressive and submit them to him so that he can share them with the cabinet ministers and the parliament of Somalia.
The consultative meeting was officially opened by SOMA Secretary General and editor of Star FM radio, Ismail Sheikh Khalifa who underlined the importance of the consultation meeting on the media law and how the journalists can make use of the offer made by the Information Minister. He added that there is no always such an opportunity and exhorted the Somali journalists to leave no stone unturned to keep the pressure on the Somali government till demands are met.
The Secretary General of National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) Mohamed Ibrahim Moalimu praised the initiative of reforming media legislations. He called this consultative meeting as a historic step forward towards improving and broadening of the freedom of the expression and that of the press freedoms in Somalia. He encouraged the participants to work together and put all their strengths to come up with purposeful ideas to produce a futuristic and comprehensive media law which is compatible to the international standards of professional media.
The chairlady of Somali Women Journalists (SWJ) Farhi Kheyre who spoke at the meeting has called on the Somali independent media to stand united and defend the freedom of press that enshrined by article 18 of the Somali constitution.
The participants of the meeting thoroughly read all 42 articles in the Somali media law and identified several articles in the media law which pose threat to freedom of press in Somalia that need to be removed from the media law and few others which need slight changes.
Finally, the journalists at the meeting appointed technical committee to hand over the outcome of the consultative meeting to the Information Minister. Representing the independent media of Somalia, tha committee will also work closely with the information minister of Somalia to convince the Somali parliament review and modify the present Somali media law.