Baidoa (Onkod Radio) — The Federation of Somali Journalists (FESOJ) has concluded a one-day Panel Discussion on freedom of expression and press freedom in Somalia held on Saturday, August 6, 2022, at Ruun Jinaad Hotel in Baidoa city, South West State.
The panel discussion was intended to focus on debating press freedom in Somalia, especially in the South West State of Somalia.
“Certainly, some journalists in Somalia and worldwide are working in difficult, challenging circumstances regarding freedom of expression, press freedom and lack of access to the information they need to transfer for the public.” Farah Omar Nur, FESOJ Secretary-General said in his introductory remarks
In the brief opening speech, Ilyas Abdi Nur, Minister of Information of South West State, thanked FESOJ for conducting the panel discussion event and pointed out its significance for the media in the region.
Representatives from the office of the Attorney General Ms Rahma Mohamed Ali, Police Col. Ali Mohamed Kusow, Members of Parliament Hassan Ali Nur, the civil society Ali Mohamed Kusow and the media Muktar Sheik Adam were the key participants in the one-day panel discussion event implemented by FESOJ and supported by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM).
The panel discussion focused on highlighting the significance of renewing the protection of media freedom in Somalia, especially in South West State, while recognizing the new challenges confronting the media sector.
During the panel discussions, the journalists’ concern over the impunity for crimes against journalists in South West State has been raised. The issues related to press freedom, killing with impunity, and harassment of the journalists were presented.
Presentations on the main ideas of ensuring the safety of the media and journalists, the role of the media in strengthening peace promotion, and improving press freedom and freedom of opinion have been made during the discussions.
The challenges the journalists are complaining about and the best way to address them through cooperation between the police and the journalists were debated during the discussion.
The need to foster greater understanding and remove distrust and mutual suspicion between the police and the journalists was raised to promote and create an environment conducive to the media’s freedom and the journalists’ safety while performing their media work.
In conclusion, following the discussion, a valuable recommendation was made, including a call on the South West authorities to work with media rights defenders, civil society organizations, and media outlets to put in place an effective mechanism to ensure press freedom, protection for the media and access to information for the media and the general public.