MAP #WPFD2024 #Highlights: Garowe World Press Freedom Day Commemoration & MAP chair’s Participation at the UNESCO’s Global Conference in Santiago, Chile.

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Press Statement; Garowe, May 06, 2024
The Media Association of Puntland (MAP), in collaboration with United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), celebrated World Press Freedom Day on May 3rd at Dayah Hotel in Garowe. Subsequently, MAP’s chair, Mohamed Dahir, extended the momentum by representing Somali media voices at the UNESCO-organized global conference in Santiago, Chile from 2-4 May 2024.

In Garowe, a constellation of environmental experts, impassioned activists, and seasoned journalists convened to delve deep into the pressing nexus of journalism, freedom of expression, and the environmental crisis. Meanwhile, in Santiago, Mohamed Dahir, the chair of MAP, took center stage at the main event of WPFD 2024, with side-events unfolding from May 2nd to May 4th, 2024. Dahir participated as a panelist in a side-event organized by Free Press Unlimited, titled “Beyond Borders: Environmental Journalism as Part of Bigger Picture,” details of which can be found here.

During the panel discussions in Garowe, the significant role of media in managing disaster risks and enhancing resilience in Puntland was carefully examined. At the core of this conversation was the pressing necessity to protect journalists’ well-being and preserve their essential right to express themselves—a mandate reinforced by several global agreements and emphasized during the panel’s talks.

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During the Garowe panel discussion, a critical consensus emerged regarding the importance of ensuring unrestricted media access to reliable and accurate information, especially during environmental crises. The goal is to raise public awareness and facilitate rapid response efforts for the benefit of local citizens.

The Garowe gathering drew inspiration from key statements such as Windhoek+30 and the Santiago Declaration. These foundational documents advocate for media independence, diversity, and pluralism. Participants at the conference expressed strong support for safeguarding media outlets from interference and enhancing transparency in reporting.
Photo Quote and Note Naima MAP(1)(1)

One of the central policy points discussed was the establishment of Puntland’s access to information. The urgency of this initiative was underscored, emphasizing the need for transparent and efficient channels through which citizens can access essential data. Above all, the Garowe event paid tribute to courageous Somali journalists who have either lost their lives or faced violence while fearlessly carrying out their duties. This solemn acknowledgment highlights the indispensable role of press freedom in a democratic society.

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MAP Chair – Mohamed Dahir – Santiago Side-Event – Panel discusssions;
At UNESCO’s Word Press freedom day’s side-event organized by Free Press Unlimited in Chile, Mohamed highlighted the impactful initiatives of the MAP Danwadaag organization, detailing their proactive engagement with local authorities and facilitation of direct dialogues between community members and municipal representatives in Gardho town prior to the flood occurrences of 2022 and 2023. These efforts underscored the critical role of local engagement in disaster preparedness and response. Additionally, the chair emphasized the necessity of enhancing journalists’ skills in reporting on disasters and environmental crises,recognizing their pivotal role in raising awareness and promoting resilience.

Furthermore, the chair drew attention to the concerning absence of specific laws safeguarding environmental reporters, highlighting the inherent risks they face due to inadequate protection measures. This underscores the pressing need for legislative frameworks to ensure the safety and security of journalists operating in this critical domain.
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Mohamed Dahir Warsame, Chairperson of MAP, reflecting on his experience after participating in the UNESCO-organized commemoration of World Press Freedom Day 2024 in Santiago, Chile (May 2-4, 2024):

“The conference offered a rare chance to share firsthand accounts of the safety and information access challenges faced by Somali journalists reporting on environmental crises. It provided a platform to connect with fellow advocates dedicated to this cause. This gathering kickstarts a roadmap to combat violence against journalists covering environmental issues and tackle the rampant misinformation surrounding climate change. Heartfelt thanks to Free Press Unlimited for the invitation to this impactful global conference. It was an invaluable opportunity to engage with fellow journalists and advocates, underscoring our shared commitment to press freedom and responsible environmental reporting.”


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