Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo has Sunday night received a media delegation headed by the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) to hear growing concerns from the journalists’ community about the media law.
NUSOJ Secretary General Omar Faruk Osman told the meeting with the Head of State how the media law passed by the Federal Parliament is in breach of the country’s constitution and constitutes a legal threat faced by Somali media.
“This law is obviously aimed at silencing journalists, restricting media houses to operate independently and directly contravenes the enjoyment of press freedom in in the country,” said Osman.
NUSOJ officials and other media representatives who met with the president underlined that the bill still needs to be radically reformed and requested it to be made in line with the country’s constitution as the media community has serious concerns, and has asked the president to return it for revision.
This law compels journalists to register with a government agency, stating who can become a journalist or how a journalist can obtain a journalism ID cards. It is vaguely worded and is not written in legally acceptable language, said the complaining journalists.
The president listened to journalists’ concerns with regard to media law, and said he would consult and consider the proposals of journalists. Farmaajo emphasised that his administration was always committed to respecting the rights of journalists and their freedoms, stressing that he would look carefully at strong complaints about this law.
Media in Mogadishu has been spared over the past two years of the harassment and intimidation they witnessed before from previous governments, marking conducive environment that Farmaajo government created for journalists.