Garowe, December 14, 2023: The Media Association of Puntland (MAP) in partnership with the International Media Support (IMS) concluded December 11th 2023 a 2-day media and judiciary dialogue forum in Garowe.
Due to the importance of the event that seeks to address issues surrounding the media access to information and freedom of speech, MAP extended an invitation to prominent figures in the Puntland judiciary, such as Abdikani Mire Hirsi, a member of the Supreme Judicial Service commission, Attorney General Abdifatah Osman Aden of the Nugal region, Abdikarim Mohamed Nur, the chairperson of Garowe’s first degree court, representatives from the Puntland Court of Appeals, the Puntland Bar Association, MAP officials, and local reporters.
The event’s guest of honour was the Director General of the Puntland’s Ministry of information – Eng. Mohamed Isse Osman who officiated the oppening of the conference.
The innaugrual session of the event saw keynote speeches from the MAP chair – Mohamed Dahir, Nugaal’s attorney general, and chair of the Garowe’s 1st degree court – who all mentioned in thier remarks the importance of gathering together to discuss issues of Public interest.
Mohamed Dahir, chairperson of MAP, in his opening remarks stated “This event builds on previous similar events aimed at improving the working relationships of the media and the judiciary.” Previous engagements with the courts resulted in the establishment of a court media guide book to professionally report on the judiciary; today, we aim to maintain this working relationship and further improve the professional relations of the judiciary and the media, particularly during this election season when free speech must be guarded.”
MAP chair also highlighted that it is the role of the courts to uphold the rule of law and mediate social conflicts, thus the general public has a genuine interest in assessing their fairness, justice, and efficiency in addressing community issues. As a result, through this kind of media and judiciary coverage, MAP endeavors to make court coverage as fair, balanced, and accurate as possible.
The media can be useful and harmful at the same time depending on how it is intended to be used, that said, there are poor people who are facing problems and do not have access to the justice system. I believe the Media have a crucial role in being a voice for this persons in need of the justice system. This event is very important and hopefully we could get alot out our discussions.” Said Nugal’s Regional Prosecutor – Abdifatah Osman Aden
Information should be made available to the media unless doing so would jeopardize security or affect ongoing investigations. It is noteworthy to add that no reporter has ever had their request for information or access denied by the Garowe first degree court. To better inform and educate the public, local media outlets should be aware of many important laws, but they are being disregarded. The media should make an effort to consult the courts on these laws in order to better enlighten the public said Chairman of the 1st Degree Court of Garowe District – Abdikarim Mohamed Noor.
The director general of the Puntland Ministry of Information, Eng. Mohamed Isse Osman, commended MAP for its numerous efforts to fortify the working relationships between Puntland government institutions and the local media, particularly with regard to discussions aimed at enhancing the safety and protection of local journalists, such as the “Peace council” engagements and the media-judiciary engagements that also improved the public’s quality of reporting on court issues.
”It is notable the efforts that MAP has put over the years in improving the working relations of media and governmental institutions, today we are here to partake in yet another important event that also comes in timely during election period in which the media is most wanted and we hope to all serve in the best interest of the public by supporting media’s work and freedom of speech.said Dir. General of the Ministry of information Mohamed Isse Osman.
Freedom of expression and information access for the media were the key subjects of discussion throughout the event. At the end of the discussion, the participants also decided that more accurate and transparent information sharing and collaboration amongst all stakeholders are necessary for the general public to be informed.