Garowe 5 September, 2016 The Media Association of Puntland (MAP) cordially welcomes thejoint report by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) centering on the right to freedom of opinion and expression in Somalia in the context of the country’s democratic transition.
The 53-page report that was published online on September 4, 2016 assesses progress since 2012 and the challenges to creating democratic space for Somali citizens on key processes, such as the constitutional review, State formation and the electoral process. Similarly, the report analyses the violations related to freedom of expression documented by UNSOM from 2012 until 2016, including killings, beatings, harassment, arbitrary arrests and illegal detention, lack of due process or fair trial guarantees, and closure of media outlets.
In light of the findings, the report addresses vital recommendations to the Federal Government and the emerging Federal states include strengthening law and policy frameworks, fostering a conducive environment for all Somalis to express their opinions freely, particularly at such a critical juncture in Somalia’s political landscape, and ensuring accountability for human rights violations and abuses.
Following the joint report by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) 2016 report on the right to freedom of expression: Striving to Widen Democratic Space in Somalia’s Political Transition, MAP through its chair Faisal Khalif barre welcomed the report on the nature of its assessment, findings and as well as it’s vital recommendations at/to the different levels of stakeholders seen in VI. Conclusions and recommendations section from Pg. 32-34;
“The UNSOM/OHCHR report is of a great importance to the various involved stakeholders from findings to the analytical data in comparison of constitutional provision state and federal Vs international standards and to recommandations to reach the obliged accomplishments as far promotion and protection of human rights, journalist and upholding rule of law while promoting freedom of expression at a democratic discourse are concerned, __said Faisal while adding, “Attacks against media practitioners have been on the rise in the past month in Puntland at time Somalia approaches to hold a national election this year, this report seeks a collective responsibility to ensure that the recommendations are put in place and will will definetly play a crucial role in counteracting these attacks. It is vital for the for the Federal and state authorities, civile society to band together to protect the fundamental rights of all people.” Noted MAP’s chair!
Somalia 2016 election – As we approach towards the election periods and that fact that free and open political communication is a critical factor to ensuring fair and democratic processes and representative and meaningful public and political discourse. Providing and securing pace for the multiple voices of politicians, media, minorities and citizens in general is both a permanent challenge and a critical opportunity for any democracy – MAP is concerned over the low output of Media outlets in terms of public education and calls on media houses across the country to step-up their role in educating the public while featuring exclusive programs with the intention to educate, inform and engage the public on the upcoming elections.
‘’the media in Somalia has a major role today than any other period in the past – given the complexity on the notion of elections mode Somalia expects to hold soon, the media must go beyond the upcoming elections and get prepared post elections – with a greater focus on the anticipate 2020 one man one vote’’ said MAP’s secretary general Fatima Mohamed.
The Media Association of Puntland, while citing Section V #2 as seen in the screen shot below, we would like to contribute to this section and the Association has made major progresses in the Puntland media reform – a two and half year-old journey that seeks it’s dream. The Puntland Minister of information and the Media Association of Puntland (MAP) have reached a landmark agreement on the on August 7, in regards to review the disputed articles of concern in the current Puntland Media law.
‘’It is with great pleasure that MAP and its members are very grateful for the generous support it has received from the National Endowment for democracy (NED) in reference to promote the media sustainability in Puntland, Endowment support since 2015 has been the major backbone of MAP while launching the advocacy to reform media law said the syndicate chair Faisal Khalif Barre, he also added today we are a step ahead but we can’t call it success but rather a progress, we expect the parliament to play it’s role efficiently while reviewing the media law proposal on articles of concern and avoid any act that would drive back the efforts, we believe and trust the role of the Puntland parliamentarians and thank them in advance added Faisal
Media Association of Puntland, would like to thank the ‘’ground coalition team’’ in their tireless efforts and support given while in advocacy and lobby for the Puntland media law reform. The coalition spearhead by the Media Association of Puntland consists of MAP the Puntland non-state actors’ association (PUNSAA) and the Puntland Human rights office and the MAP members.
To the Somali civil society groups; It is extremely important that we stand-up for our own rights and demand those in power accountability, we need to break-the-silence and work together both nationally and at state level and together we are strong. The civil society organizations have a major role in implementing and following-up such vital recommendations, if we just leave the recommendations in paper then who will standup for our own rights?????
To the Somali Judiciary Independence: As the separation of powers is a fundamental guarantee of the independence of the judiciary. In the decision-making process, judges should have freedom to decide cases impartially, in accordance with their interpretation of the law and the facts. MAP calls for the Somali authorities to enhance the capacity of the Judiciary and give them enough space to guarantee the independence of the judiciary.
Media Association of Puntland – MAP calls on both the Somali federal authorities and the state authorities to modestly implement the recommendations this report carries and avoid any delays.
In reference to Chapter V. 2 page 27 for the Media in Puntland and for the recommendations with respect to Puntland in page 33, MAP takes into account the points mentioned and will a high priority at its upcoming plans and agenda.
Last but not least, MAP would like to thank United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and we wish to extend our cooperation in the future as well, since we all share a common goal to promote human rights.
Finally, We call on the international to keenly follow-up on the implementations of the recommendations and not to lean-back, MAP highly recommends that thier should be a very close followup upon the implementation of this vital recommendation
Human Rights Watch published a report in May 2016, on the dangers of being a journalist in Somalia and the lack of protection for freedom of expression. The report highlighted the continued concerns around freedom of the media in Somalia, which “has come under threat from all sides in ongoing fighting between governmental forces and various non-state armed groups”.