Somaliland: SOLJA Cautions against Interference with Media Law

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Mohamed Rsahid Solja Secretary General“We accept UoH training but not interference in the media law that journalists are satisfied with” -Mohamed Rashid, SOLJA secretary general

By: Yusuf M Hasan

HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) – Controversy is brewing over attempts to effect changes in the media law.

According to the Somaliland Journalists Association-SOLJA Secretary General Mr. Mohamed Rashid Muhumed Farah, The government is intend on amending media law #27/2004 thus attain loopholes to derail the independence of journalists.

This accusation was made by the SOLJA leadership during a one day media ethics workshop organized by the University of Hargeisa-UoH faculty of law at in the city where the SOLJA also advised the institution to refrain from assuming all know airs in the matter.

“We accept UoH training but not interference in the media law that journalists are satisfied with” –Said Mohamed Rashid,

During the one day workshop with 30 participants the information minister Hon Abdirahman Yusuf Duale ‘Boobe’ who urged Journalist to act professionally since they are important actors in the country’s development also informed that the unethically and sensational reporting will not be accommodate.

The minister said that the government welcomes constructive criticisms since they lead to better governance and development of the nation thus the need for media houses to act professionally and responsibly.

“The administration expects the media to help in development and good governance through pinpointing loopholes that require attention” said Hon Boobe

Though the objective of the one day work organized by the Faculty of law of Hargeisa university-UoH was to familiarize local journalists with the media law and more specifically the section dealing with media ethics, SOLJA asked the university to refrain from being used to interfere with the country’s media law.

SOLJA which accused the government of intends to amend the laws that were approved by both houses of parliament and signed into law by former president Dahir Rayale Kahin in 2004, “This law is adequate and fully acceptable to us thus current machinations for amendments are a ploy to create loopholes for legalizing journalists persecution by the government” Said Mohamed Rashid

The government was further accused of creating divisions within the journalist’s association in-order to facilitate its maneuvers to amend the existing media laws that the said government fully supported during its prolonged tenure as official opposition political party.

“why has the Kulmiye government become so much anti-freedom of press since it came to power, has the party forgotten its former love of the media” quipped SOLJA chairman Mr. Hasan Mohamed Yusuf

The SOLJA boss stressed on the need for the government to desist from 2 years of continued and persistent media muzzling that has resulted in the arrest and to some extension lengthily detention of journalists on mere suspicion pertaining to anti-government activities.

Said he, “in the first five months of 2012 more than 50 journalists were arrested thus Silanyo attaining the record of highest number of journalists arrests”

The figure of 50 journalists arrested in the short span of six months surpasses the entire total of fourth estate members arrested since the country reclaimed independence 2 decades ago.

In support of his boss the SOLJA secretary general Mohamed Rashid wondered why the government has failed to respect section 27 of media law #27/2004, which stipulates that a journalist cannot be detained without being trial.

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