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Somali Journalists Gather to Celebrate World Press Freedom Day event in Mogadishu

By National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ)
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MOGADISHU, Somalia, May 4, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Somali journalists, media station managers, civil society representatives and government officials gathered on Thursday in Mogadishu to mark the World Press Freedom Day with the theme “Media's Quest to Transform Society: Challenges of Press Freedom and Safety of Journalists in Conflict zones.” amid Somali journalists are facing risks including murder.

The event, which was funded by the United Nations Political Office for Somalia, was co-organized by the Somalia's Ministry of Information, Posts and Telecommunication and the National Union of Somali Journalists to honour this day and create a platform that they can share their ordeals on the occasion of this global day for freedom of expression.

The participants vehemently condemned the latest killing of the Farhan Jeemis Abdulle, who was a newscaster for Radio Daljir in Galkacyo and Reporter for SIMBA radio based in Mogadishu. Mr. Abdulle was killed on the eve of World Press Freedom Day. The event participants said prayers to all slain Somali journalists who were killed by gangs and criminals.

The panel sessions of the gathering focused on Challenges of Press Freedom and the Safety of journalists, impunity and the best way to tackle it, ethical reporting, How Freedom of the press can transform a society among others.

Songs and dances were presented by the Waberi Band about the press freedom, journalists safety and citizen journalism. Similar event was held in Galkacyo on May 2nd.

At the end of the event, the participants acknowledged the killings, death threats, intimidation and other violations against the journalists and the media stations are a real threat and agreed to issue the following joint communiqué:

A Joint Communiqué between the Ministry of Information and the National Union of Somali Journalists to mark the World Press Freedom Day in Mogadishu (Mogadishu, 3rd May 2012) In this important gathering that celebrates for the World Press Freedom on May 3, 2012, We, the representatives from the local media houses and international, including the National Union of Somali Journalists and the Ministry of Information, Posts and Telecommunications, agreed on a number of principles that are essential to the press freedom and its security to operate safely in these environments.

The Joint:

1. Recognizes the important contributions of media to our

society, and reaffirmed our commitment to promote openness and support the press freedom to advance the social aspirations and human rights.

2. Stresses that the media has an important role to play in

strengthening the peace and promoting respect for the rule of law, especially in this critical period throughout the post-transition. The joint encourages responsible journalism and ethical reporting practices.

3. Underlines the importance of the safety of journalists and

demanded government to ensure that journalists are given protections, especially when dealing with imminent threats from particular groups.

4. Recognizes the difficult circumstances in which the

journalists work in Somalia and the dangers involved in reporting truth. With that, we strongly condemn the killing of journalists, especially that of Farhan James Abdulle, a Radio Daljir Reporter, who was murdered last night in Galkayo. The joint urges investigations to be conducted immediately and ensure that justice prevails.

5. Emphasizes the need to strengthen and support the Press

Freedom and to ensure that the government eliminates all sources of violence against the Press.

6. Underscores the need to defend the common interests of society

in living peace and protecting the rights of journalists, including providing adequate and decent wages.

7. Expresses strong determinations to confront the challenges

faced by the Press by enhancing the relationship between the government and the media houses.

8. Adjourned the conference with a set of goals that should be

followed up jointly to ensure the effective implementation of those principles.