Friday, July 19, 2024

The situation of the Somali Media and the establishment of the Somali Media Council.

Mogadishu, February 14, 2024 {HMC} The media plays a significant role in shaping public opinion and developing democracy, the Somali media is at a critical juncture, with many challenges including lack professional skills, censorship and safety concerns. There is still a need for Journalists to have the process to modify the prevailing oversights. The establishment of the Somali Media Council could be the expectation to address the current concerns.

A time has passed since two Presidents have signed the Media Law, and that has caused to raising debate and discussion and call for some of the articles in the Media Law need to be reviewed and amended. Some of the commonly accepted legal provisions by the Federal Government and the Regional States have not yet been implemented, and there is still concerns among the journalists and the mass media.

In order to overcome the challenges that still exist, it is necessary to work on the establishment process of the Media Council to amend the controversy and the existing debate. This Somali Media Council has been under disagreement for quite some time, in this year, we highly expect that it will be possible all the media stakeholders to carefully and open – mindedly take common ground to establish the Media Council.

The Federation of Somali Journalists (FESOJ), the Somali Media Association (SOMA) and their affiliate organizations under the umbrella of Somali Mechanism for Safety of Journalists (SMSJ) believes that the time has come when the Somali press should have Somali Media Council in place in accordance with the Article 14 of the Somali Media Law.

At this stage, FESOJ and SOMA has seen as significant point for the need to speed up the efforts for the establishment of an independent Somali Media Council on the bases of Article 14 of the Media Law whose members have knowledge of the Media and the laws of the country.

FESOJ and SOMA want the other affiliate media organizations, the government and civil society to work jointly so that establishment of this Council will be a consultative one, since the process has been dragging on for a long time, no single party can build the Media Council alone.

The Federation of Somali Journalists (FESOJ) has recently been closely following up the establishment of the East African Media Council paving the way for its formation. FESOJ has been part of the foundation meetings while Somalia has no functional Media Council

Somalia, which has become part of the East African community, is important to be a part of the East African Media Council, which FESOJ has been consulted with a lot during its foundation.

The establishment of the Somali Media Council that is required to be formed is defined in Article 14 of the country’s Media Law which its parts contains: 14.1, 14. 2, 14.3, 14.4., 14.5, 14.6, 14.7, 14.8 and 14. 9.

The important provisions are: Article 14.1 indicating the Media Council will be consisting of 9 members.

14.1. B) Government 3 members with one female
T) Private Media 3 members
J) The Civil Society Organizations (CSO) 3 members (Human Rights Commission, Women Associations and Somali Lawyers Association)
14.2. The members that could join the Media Council will be members from the academics, media experts selected for their experiences, talents, honesty and integrity

14.3. This important clause indicates that in order for the Council to fulfill its duties, it is to be independent from politics and government interference, institutional interests and special groups and conflict of interests that may come to the person who becomes a member and the work of the council.

14.4. The formation of the Somali Media Council could come through consultation with the Minister of Information, Media Associations and the Chairman of the Civil Society Organizations (CSO).

14.5. The appointment of the Somali Media Council will be valid with the decision of the Cabinet of Ministries after proposal of the Minister of Information, and signed by the President and issued in the Official Gazette.

14.6. The term of this Somali Media Council will be three years and can be renewed only once if necessary.

We are expecting to achieve a Media Council implemented in Somalia established through consultation approach to solve the prolonged challenges faced by the Somali media. Somalia is aiming to pave the way for free, democratic, responsible and active media.

FESOJ and SOMA and their affiliated SMSJ members is confirming to be standing for leading that process of forming the Somali Media Council.


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