MEDIA STAKEHOLDERS CELEBRATE WORLD PRESS FREEDOM DAY IN MOGADISHU
03 May, 2011
National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), Mogadishu Media
House (MMHouse) and Somali Coalition for Free Expression (SOCFEX)
mark May 3rd 2011, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the
Windhoek Declaration with the theme "Somali Media: challenges
and Barriers" in a well organized event held at Ambasador
Hotel in Mogadishu on Tuesday.
In the occasion of the World Press Freedom Day, Somali journalists
honored their slain colleague journalists who were killed while
performing their duties as Somalia is regarded in one of the
most dangerous countries for journalists in Africa.
The event which is celebrated annually on May 3rd, the date
on which the Windhoek Declaration was adopted, was attended
by the Somali media stakeholders, civil society organizations,
human rights defenders and government officials and chairman
of the Parliamentary Media Committee, Mr. Awad Ahmed Hasharo,
who all underlined the need to give tribute to the slain Somali
journalists, which as well encourages the Somali journalists
and other stakeholders.
On the 20th Anniversary of the World Press Freedom Day symbolizes
the importance of freedom of the press. Press freedom is considered
to be a cornerstone of human rights and a guarantee of other
freedoms. It encourages transparency and good governance and
it ensures that society enjoys the rule of true justice. Freedom
of the press is a bridge of understanding and knowledge. It
is essential for the exchange of ideas between nations and cultures
which is a condition for true understanding and lasting cooperation.
May 3rd now serves as an occasion to inform the public of violations
of the right to freedom of expression and as a reminder that
many journalists brave death or jail to bring people their daily
Secretary General of the National Union of Somali Journalists,
Mohammed Ibrahim who highlighted the importance of the World
Press Freedom Day and the fearful conditions the Somali Journalists
work, while facing all sorts of oppressions paid a tribute for
the courageous work the journalists undertake in a hostile environment
while performing their duties, even some of them paying their
"The Somali journalists are working in one of the most
dangerous cities in the world, worth to be honored and awarded,
many have been killed, wounded, arrested, tortured, threatened
in the country as a whole, as today is the World's Press Freedom
day." Mohammed Ibrahim, NUSOJ Secretary General said, "We
must not be discouraged by any sort of violations meant to silence
the independent media and if that happens, the media freedom
"We pay tribute to all our friends and colleagues who
lost their lives or wounded, jailed, abused or threatened in
line with their journalistic work and encourage you to maintain
your duties in giving the public balanced, accurate news."
Mr. Ibrahim added.
The establishment and maintenance of an independent, pluralistic
and free press is in Somalia is crucial to development and safeguarding
of the country. There are still challenges ahead facing the
Somali media stakeholders in preserving the freedom of the press.
Therefore, there is a need of setting up independent Disciplinary
commission, which will serve as intermediately body between
the government and the media stakeholders. Such commission is
vital for healthy free flow of information based on ethical
and responsible journalism.
"Somali journalists working these critical
conditions should be respected in carrying out their assigned
journalistic tasks." Abdullahi Mohamed Hassan (Black),
The Director of Mogadishu Media House, "The Somali journalists
will never compromise the freedom of the press and that the
journalists oppose any attempts the government tries to undermine
the basic rights of the freedom of expression and the freedom
of the press, the right to gather and the right to express their
feeling in peaceful demonstrations.".
The Director of Mogadishu Media House finally urged in his
remarks that Somali journalist to have a united national vision
and take part in peace building.
chairman of the Parliamentary Media Committee, Mr. Awad Ahmed
Hasharo said, in his opening remarks of the World Press Freedom
Day, strongly opposed the government's decision of outlawing
the demonstrations and the conferences in the capital.
"I strongly oppose the government's decision in banning
the public demonstrations and the gatherings. I especially urge
the government to respect the basic rights of the people."
said Mr. Awad Ahmed Hasharo, the chairman of the Parliamentary
Mr. Hasharo finally urged the Somali journalist to unite and
he called upon the Ministry of Information, Posts and Telecommunication
to support the journalists unity and urged the government, especially
the MoI, Posts and Telecommunication to allocate a budget for
media and journalists bodies in order to them to train and upgrade
the Somali journalists skills."
Mrs. Udbi Suleyman Mahdi, NUSOJ Gender Secretary the need of
the female journalists to be encouraged in the field of journalism,
as many female journalists lack the basic freedoms, while some
of them quit the provision for fear or intimidation in some
parts of the country. Mrs. Udbdi stressed that the basic rights
of female journalists are untouchable and enshrined
to the UDHR.
Also, Yusuf Ali Osman,from the Ministry of Information, Posts
and Telecommunication and Mrs. Malyun Sheik Haydar from Civil
society who spoke at the event welcomed and praised the Somali
At the end of the World Press Freedom Day Celebrations in Mogadishu,
the Media stakeholders recommended:
1. That Somali Media stakeholders work on the establishment
of Coordination Committee that will be assigned in the unification
of the Somali Media stakeholders.
2. That the independent Media Organization/Unions be supported
in terms of the equipment and the trainings in order that they
carry out their assigned duties successfully.
3. That journalists be given all necessary help in carrying
out their day to day activities and duties.
4. That Somali Media stand in the salvation of its people and
5. That All Somali authorities/local administrations those in
existence in the country respect the freedom of the press.
6. The establishment of Independent Media council (Press Ombudsman)
which will serve as an intermediatory body between the government
and the media.