Somalilandsun – When it comes to the height of irresponsibility, perhaps the latest we have been treated to its that of the unprecedented strong worded, fire-spitting and over convictional press release by SOLJA on resolute rebutting a SONSAF sponsored meeting for, and on, media; and then, 72 hours later, in a 180 degrees about-turn seating meekly before the same meeting and emitting profuse apologies with profound emotions!
Any member of the public who witnesses such resolutions today and the following day get treated to such about turns without subsequent explanations that they are rightly and duly indebted to is not only a shame or a mock to the whole SOLJA fraternity, but indeed a grave matter seriously dangling over their necks.
We herein, however, are not concerned with whether the SOLJA executives have love lost or bad-blood amongst themselves but why they are subjected to a court of members of the public by SONSAF.
What we however say and would rather underscore to the letter is by underpinning the fact that one’s shortcoming should not be a defence when the same is manipulated by a friend or foe alike.
In an overview, SONSAF invites SOLJA to a meeting while purporting it to address five major points. Of them, four are perception of the prevalent situation (status quo) of the media industry in general, major difficulties encountered (“by the private sector”) of the media, ways and means of addressing the inhibitions curtailing the industry and how best the industry may prosper.
The fifth item, marked fourth in the invitation letter, was how to proceed with a forthcoming media/ nation (stakeholders) meeting! The wording in the original Somali version text (we have not seen another version) revealed that SONSAF have already planned for hence have in their itinerary the “upcoming” meeting in advance.
The scenario then captures the soldiers at SOLJA screaming wildly hence terming the meeting a secret SONSAF meeting; a subversion-tailored agenda to clip SOLJA’s wings; and an abetted act of pilfering media associations’ projects proceeds! etc.
They thus warned international NGOs, IC etcetera to desist from abetting in cahoots with agendas that stifle press freedom and trounce on basic human rights hence cautioned SONSAF against going ahead with the meeting.
On both scenarios, reading between the lines would reveal that there are elements and iota of aspects that has not been vividly brought to fore by both parties.
SONSAF does not dwell on the reasons that make the meeting imperative just as SOLJA does not explain the reasons behind the seething anger they depicted.
Shame upon SOLJA is unveiled squarely when its chairman declares the press release as null and void since he never signed it and apologized profusely.
As a soldier in a true sense of the word, he says that whenever and wherever issues of the media or journalists are at stake (read SOLJA), he would always be there to defend it,.
However apt diplomatically put, what is the true sense of the picture needs to be shed as clearly and vividly as should supposed to.
SOLJA, in the first sense, should not be dangled in the dock it has put itself. If they are affiliated to SONSAF, then fine they should answer and play to the tune and heed the call.
Secondly, of all non-state actors forum, SOLJA should have been the most powerful hence could not have been subjected to the position they are in today; simply by being the fourth estate controllers.
As all professional bodies, we expected only, the government through SOLNA to accredit public journalists and SOLJA, to accredit scribes in the private sector.
Instead of this, we see today a SOLJA that behaves like an NGO and not the one it is/was indeed supposed to be!
They perhaps do not even know that this column alone devotes over 40% of its productions, not annually but perennially, decrying the degenerating press (local) situation and standards.
When SOLJA does not soldier on and put its house in order, it should not cry foul when other soldiers try to put issues straight.
We are sad that as SOLJA founding members we should be where we are today.
Our local media nowadays thrive on petty and gutter press filled with libelous articles that peddle animosity, tribalism, despotism, ill-motives, and partisanship etcetera. Worse of all is the manner in which it is not only condoned, but perpetrated with impunity.
Rifts, however not so open, are promiscuous with the number of “associations” purporting to be professional bodies in this industry striving to upgrade and defend it!
True to media reports, after SOLJA meekly assembled to the SONSAF hosted meeting on Thursday at Maansoor Hotel, they and all other media representatives, shouted highly in unison hence wailed by crying foul that the constant confrontations between the state and the fourth estate was due to the executive not adhering to the constitution of the laws of the land.
How can one argue that the state do not play as per etiquette (law) when the same one arguing has trampled upon the same expected ethics (regulation) before hand?
The truth is that SOLJA has stood accused hence has to come out clean.
It should have a long time ago harness its professional needs and fortified itself in strength with positive affiliations by teaming first with colleagues before others instead of seating arms-crossed and bask in assumed perception of ‘greatness’ of “large” representation only living in their own minds.
On the other hand, what comes out of their “brainstorming” at Mansoor is not clear how or what impacts it would have on (and to) the definitely upcoming “national” court whose dock would see the media standing!
In retro-respect, however, has the local media now (or had it before) ever shed light on the SONSAF ‘alleged’ meetings with the Road-Map cliques?
Anyhow, we brood today; grinding our teeth in chagrin, as to the position the local media and particularly SOLJA has put us into, The Dock!
Somaliland: SOLJA and SONSAF in Media Reform Tug of War