Garowe, October 10: On October 9, 2022, in Galkaio city, a 2-day dialogue forum aimed at enhancing the safety and protection of Mudug region media establishments and journalists was successfully concluded by the Media Association of Puntland (MAP), in collaboration with the International Media Support (IMS), as part of the EU-supported Opening Civic & Democratic Space: Civil Society & Media Together project.
Senior police officers from the Mudug region, including the commanders of the airport and central police station in Galkaio, CSO members, including independent attorneys, and local journalists attended the discussion.
The Galkaio Mayor, Honorable Hassan Mohamed Jama, spoke at the event’s opening session, as did the chair of the hosting organization, MAP, Mohamed Dahir Warsame, and the secretary general of the association, Naima Musse Elmi, who moderated the event’s inauguration.
Mohamed Dahir, MAP chair, who first spoke at the opening welcomed the participants, and introduce to them the objectives of the two-day dialogue forum. He urged participants to be respectful of each other’s opinions and engage in a constructive debate as both media and police services for the public good.
”Thank you Mayor Hassan and thanks to the participants for making it to this vital event, we are gathered here today and tomorrow to discuss how can we all cooperate in getting an enabling environment for media practice in Mudug.
‘’We will have the opportunity to listen from reporters participating on what are the day-to-day challenges faced by the media, as well, the police will also voice their comments on what are the causes of the challenges media face, and in that sense, we will draw a road map on how to collectively address the identified problems’’ Said Mohamed Dahir, chair MAP.
Hassan Mohamed Jama, the mayor of Galkaio city and one of the founding members of the Media Association of Puntland (MAP), gave a moving speech in which he expressed his gratitude for being invited to participate in what he called a public interest event intended to advance the safety and protection of media professionals.
‘’As a former media practitioner I acknowledge the importance media has for society, am glad to have been invited by MAP to be part of this important event aimed at improving the working relations of the media and the police’’ Adding, I pledge to work towards the objectives of ensuring that our media work freely and safely’’, Said Mayor, Hassan Mohamed Jama, in his official opening speech.
The conference was officially opened by Mayor – Hassan and participants were taken to the other parts of the conference which included lectures on the global UN action plan for addressing the safety of journalists and the issue of impunity; Best practices in addressing arbitrary detention of journalists; human rights and policing; presentations on cases related to violations committed against the media/journalists and session on discussions to establish an action plan to address the problems.
The conference concentrated on problems that journalists encounter in both combat and non-combat settings. Participants used the discussion platform to openly share their experiences, including the difficulties they encounter when dealing with law enforcement, the violations committed against the media by the police, and the police’s perspective on how the media operates, including the professionalism of journalists.
Participants agreed on an action plan that will address the concerns that have been highlighted as having a detrimental effect on the safety and protection of local journalists at the conclusion of the event.
The dialogue conference was conducted in Galkaio, one of Somalia’s riskiest cities for media practice, with a sad history of unresolved murder cases, the most recent being the death of late veteran journalist Jamal Farah Aden.
According to international watchdogs, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous nations for media practice. Although the risk varies by location, the Puntland State has been generally tranquil in recent months; yet, threats like harassment, intimidation, incarceration, and murder do exist throughout the country.
MAP will convene a third state-level conference soon in Garowe to report the outcomes and action plans produced in previous forums, as well as to build a Puntland state common action to address concerns of journalist safety and protection, as well as issues of impunity in Puntland.