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SOMA completed stakeholders’ meeting on improving freedom of expression, safety of journalists and access to information in Kismayo city.

Mogadishu, 11,March ,2024 {SOMA} The Somali Media Association (SOMA) has concluded a two-day Panel Discussion meeting for the stakeholders on freedom of expression, safety of journalists and access to information in Kismayo city, Jubbaland State.

Thirty participants consisting of editors, journalists, Journalists Association of Jubbaland (JAJ), Information Committee of Jubbaland State Parliament and CSO were the key attendants in the panel discussion meeting.

The stakeholders’ meeting conducted in partnership with the International Media Support (IMS) has been held at Hotel Madina , Kismayo city from 9th to 10th March 2024 in Kismayo city, Jubbaland State discussing how to defend freedom of expression.

The meeting was aiming to promote better understanding and remove distrust and mutual suspicion in order to advance access to information, create an environment more conducive to freedom of expression, and ensuring safety of media and journalist.

Furthermore, the intention of the dialogue meeting was to better understand and reach level of awareness paving the way to achieve policy safeguarding the articles written in the constitution focusing on press freedom, access to information and safety of journalists.

The stakeholders’ dialogue meeting moderated by Adan Kismayo, a journalist working in Kismayo city has been attended by MPs of Jubbaland , especially Information Committee Members of the Parliament and members from the Journalists Association of Jubbaland (JAJ)

In his opening remarks, Mohamed Osman Makaran, Secretary General of SOMA pointed out the dialogue meeting is intended to achieve understanding between the government, CSO and the media which will be eventually accomplished with close cooperation and progress in freedom of expression, freedom of the press, safety of journalists and access of the required information.

“The goal of the dialogue meeting is to find new ideas to be shared and explored for the best ways that can lead to sustainable solutions for the challenges the Somali media are facing.” Farah Omar Nur, Secretary General of FESOJ indicated in his brief preliminary presentation at the meeting.

Abdullahi Akhyar , Secretary General of the Journalists Association of Jubbaland (JAJ) indicated there are prevailing challenges in Jubbaland State that is the viewpoint of the government.

“The Journalists Association of Jubbaland (JAJ) stands for freedom of expression, press freedom, safety of journalists and the community to receive the information they need, including that journalists report the ongoing local operations.” Abdullahi Akhyar , Secretary General of JAJ stated.

Abdi Geedi Mohamed , MP of Jubbalnd State pointed out Article 20 of the Jubbaland State Constitution allows freedom of expression and access to information. He added there are powerful persons in Somalia that are barriers, and explained that access to information have been implemented in Jubbaland State, while there are some places where reporters cannot go.

Abdisalaan Mohamed Shire, journalists with disability asked the Parliamentary Information Committee that many bills are being submitted to the Parliament, and stated to have never seen the Information Committee defending the media law. The Parliament Information Committee member responded that there has been no media law submitted to the Parliament for discussion.

Mohamed Amin from Jubbaland Non-State Actors Association (JUNSAA) indicated that journalists face violations like others in the world. He mentioned that journalists do not have sensitive political information to convey to the public and that there is no freedom of speech in Somalia.

Mama Shukri, representing disable organization emphasized the need for the journalists to get more information about the disable community and report to the public.

Abdijabaar, member of journalists has highlighted in order the journalists to excel in their roles, they need to upgrade their professional skills to avoid mistakes that can lead to their detention.

 

In conclusion, the two- day stakeholders dialogue meeting has been an event expressing the significance that Jubbaland State needs to get access to information, journalists to be safe and freedom of expression to be allowed.

SOMA in partnership with IMS/FOJO has previously conducted similar y media Stakeholder Dialogue Meeting related with freedom of expression, safety of journalists and access to information in Beledweyne city , Hirshabelle State on October 2023 and in Dhuusamareeb city , Galmudug State on December 2023.

END

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