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SOMA concluded stakeholders’ meeting on improving freedom of expression, safety of journalists and access to information in Beledweyne city , Hirshabelle State

Mogadishu, Saturday, October 29, 2023: The Somali Media Association (SOMA) has completed a two-day Panel Discussion meeting for 30 persons consisting of editors, journalists, police, Hiran Regional Authorities and Beledweyne city District Commissioner on freedom of expression, safety of journalists and access to information in Beledweyne city, Hirshabelle State.

The dialogue meeting conducted in partnership with the International Media Support (IMS) has been held from 26th to 27th October 2023 in Beledweyne city , Hirshabelle State discussing how to protect freedom of expression.

The stakeholders’ dialogue meeting was intending for advancing better understanding and reduce distrust in order to improve freedom of expression, safety of journalists and access to information.

The key participants of the training program were editors, journalists, police, Hiran Regional Authority and Beledweyne District Commissioner

Lieutenant Ahmed Ali Bin Ali, Deputy Commander of Beledweyne city police station pointed out the cooperation between the journalists and the city police is part of improving the safety of journalist.

“The journalist is always the reporter who passes the actual news to the public and avoid fake stories.” Ali Anshur Farah, Media Editor said expressing his viewpoint.

The Hiran Regional administration and Beledweyne District Commissioner have jointly indicated that sources will be prepared for the media where they could closely access information while protecting the freedom of expression.

Furthermore, the community in Beledweyne district are confirming at this time that the media is the only place to access the accurate news, and that the news transmitted through the social media cannot be trusted.

During the two – day Dialogue Meeting, the participants have specifically discussed the key topics on how to communicate with the media, operational safety procedures when dealing with the journalists and freedom of expression, how the security forces can ensure the journalists can access the information they need to pass to the public.

“The Somali Media Association (SOMA) will maintain convening similar panel discussions building trust between the journalists and the community in order to access accurate news.” Mohamed Osman Makaran , Secretary General of SOMA said in his closing remarks.

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