Garowe 13th, 2022: The Media Association of Puntland (MAP) in partnership with the International Media Support (IMS) concluded on December 12th in Garowe a 2-day dialogue forum for media and Judiciary.
The event, which was funded by the EU, brought together judges, prosecutors, attorneys, and representatives of Puntland media outlets to share best practices, discuss violations of and cases brought against journalists, and exchange opinions on a variety of topics pertaining to the respect of media’s independence, Public’s right to be informed; protection of journalists’ safety and freedom of expression.
At the opening session of the event, the MAP chair, Mohamed Dahir welcomed participants and briefed them of the objectives of the dialogue forum. On the other side the director general of the Puntland Ministry of information Eng. Mohamed Isse Osman and an official from the Office of the Puntland Attorney General – Abdiqani also gave remarks at the inaugural session of the forum.
The MAP chair Mohamed Dahir in his oppening speech underlined:
‘’I would like to express my gratitude to each and every one of you for accepting MAP’s invitation to take part in this dialogue forum. This forum aims to support the search for a media-friendly environment by bringing the judiciary into the discussion to address urgent concerns about how the government has abused the legal system to limit free speech and media independence…
He added ‘’We can all relate to the dedication of journalists in making sure every story is heard, as well as the need to protect them and hold those who harm them accountable’’ Dahir’s opening remarks.
Abdiqani from the office of the Puntland’s Attorney General said ‘’The media is a double-edged sword, if used well it can lead to the development and bring better security in the society. It is important for the reporter to assess the harm caused by his reporting before he/she broadcasts the news, even if he/she has the right to do so….
He added, I want to also draw attention to how interconnected our local media are. For instance, if a journalist is detained, the whole media band together to seek that person’s release. I hope the media would react similarly when one of their colleagues violates the law’’ said Abdiqani.
Puntland’s Ministry of Information’s Director General noted ‘’A renowned statement states, “Your right stops when the rights of others begin.” It is critical for a reporter to defend the rights of others; if he or she does, it is estimated that 90% of the time, he or she will not commit an offense. I am hoping that the debate forum will be successful. I’d like to congratulate MAP for its ongoing efforts to strengthen Puntland media, as well as MAP, the EU, and IMS for arranging such an important event. – said Eng. Mohamed Isse.
During the 2-days of the forum, it was demonstrated and debated how a military tribunal was involved in the fictitious case of Journalist Kilwe as well as other contentious decisions issued by the Puntland courts.
These instances highlighted the crucial part courts need to play in preventing, promoting, and safeguarding free speech and the safety of journalists.
The event called for the Judiciary to put the Puntland Media law 2016 into consideration when dealing with cases or even matters regarding complaints brought against local journalists and media establishments.
The forum ended with both sides coming to close understanding, and MAP expects the Puntland Judiciary not to be used as a tool to undermine the media’s work in the future.