Journalists call on respect for media ahead of national polls
A journalists trade union has called on the federal government and opposition candidates to respect the media's right to cover the elections independently.
A journalists trade union has called on the federal government and opposition candidates to respect the media’s right to cover the elections independently.
Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) released a press release earlier this week where they reported that Somali journalists are growing increasingly concerned about the censorship and intimidation experienced my media practitioners ahead of the national polls.
Abdalla Ahmed Mumin, the secretary-general of the SJS, said that the government has been weaponizing the newly enacted media law to target reporters critical of the government.
“As Somalia heads to a heavily disputed election, we have witnessed how state officials, who are blindly trying to enforce the media law, are increasingly scrutinizing media reporting and have even publicly declared that they will not allow any critical voices. We call for this to stop.”
Mumin called for the media law, which the group described as “draconian” to be put on hold.
“We call for authorities to put their intent to implement the repressive media law on hold. Media and journalists should be allowed to independently report all views from all parties, including the information regarding mismanagement of election, fraud and abuses against women candidates without fear of reprisals.”
The group said an independent media is a prerequisite of free and fair elections and their right to report is enshrined in Somalia’s provisional constitution as well as international law. The SJS called on Somali citizens, the international community and civil societies worldwide to stand in solidarity with journalists.