Somaliland: Culture of Libel with Impunity Must Stop!

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EDITORIAL

Somalilandsun – The most shocking thing about our public behavior that refuses to ebb is the fact that a despicable culture that has for long been part of our everyday life is thriving despite all our perpetual calls of hues and cries to obstruct it.

The public behavior we are talking about herein concerns abetted impunity conduct of misdemeanor in peddling uncorroborated, unverified and concocted items by both our local media and so called people of eminence within our communities.

These acts have gone on for ages only to continue misinforming and disinforming the members of the public.

Of course what thereof off-shoots is either a charged, angered, anxious, disillusioned, heartbroken or confusion and severe lack of trust amongst those fed with lies. These attitudes which foment animosity between groups thereafter are often, as we see, a well calculated ill-motivation to reap seeds not sown; of course heralded by abettors in car-hoots either consciously or not.

Surely, the over decade this paper has been in circulation we have patriotically decried forces in our local media industry who tend to publish or air partial, one-sided, uncorroborated, un-authenticated, un-attributed, un-verified or libelous items and articles.

However a tall order the battles in this war may be, something has got to be done.

The scenario is the embedded culture of our assumed or expected people of note, eminence, honour or wisdom who pick-up such unethically circulated reports and amplify them to suit their partial and egotist personal, tribal or political interests.

Both the media fraternity and people of note, definitely know in their subconscious that they are committing crimes hence abet their wrongs in car hoots.

The said problem above is so endemic that unless a very strong wand is waved to stop it will continue to cause havoc.

Only last week we lamented the words of a high profile opposition leader leveled towards Genel Energy a day before it paused operations.

Similar copy and paste attitude is seen in our press e.g. Ethiopianreview.com website’s story “Ethiopian freezes flights to SL” whose un-verification or un-corroboration is witnessed by their lack of not knowing which of the two sagas came first!

The styles of malice, sarcasm and offensive-tailored articles are quite clear in all unethical works. They all do not have any sense of respect or phobia of libel. The “daring” attitudes are not really fear of repercussion of their actions, but indeed it is boldness in search of “head-on” confrontations.

Surely despite our lively and thriving “independence” in media industry, the assumed freedom knows no bounds when abused unrelenlessly, if Rwanda is recalled.

Again, surely, we believe it is past time that order should be reinstated; however though, it is better late than never.

We appeal to the information minister to review the gross of websites operating in the country.

In the same breath we call for the pepping up and revitalizing of the media ethics and etiquettes committee hence day to day reviews should be tabbed.

Better still, a commission to instill discipline, we may add, is quite advisable.

We stand for the development, peace and stability of our country, hence call upon our local media industry to conduct them as that elsewhere on earth.

In other words, all media publishing and electronic houses anywhere in the world operate with the basic essence of defending, furthering and consolidating their OWN national and associated interests FIRST. It is dully a moral, noble, patriotic and expected obligation both individually or as group. Where is our sense of belonging or worthwhile interests?

Of course like all scribes and publishing houses anywhere, we at the THT and DMG naturally stand for freedom press.

This does not however mean that we should undermine our aspirations – No, NEVER.

All stakeholders and those who matter should know better.

The writer M.A.Egge is the editor of The Horn Tribune a weekly English newspaper published in Hargeisa by the state owned Dawan media group.

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