The Media Association of Puntland (MAP) successfully concluded a journalism training on access to information aimed at sensitizing participants on developing participants’ capacity to advocate for their right to know and a reflect on the status of the access to information in Puntland, whereas identifying the key players in freedom of information, including the state institutions.
Supported by the National Endowment for Democracy, the three-day course that ended on the March 21, was attended by 25-participants drawn from media outlets across the Puntland regions and held in Garowe at the Dayax hotel conference facility.
This activity is the officially launch of a major advocacy cause that MAP aims to mobilize the state and non-state actors to establish the information act provided in the Puntland Media law(2016).
At the opening session the MAP Chair Mohamed Dahir, and the Puntland Ministry of information Mohamud Aideed both gave inaugural speeches touching the importance of the training and a pledge of collaboration in the next steps in the bid to establish the access to information act.
”Puntland journalists play a crucial role in launching and promoting public debates, especially as the state transitions to a democratic model that allows citizens to elect their local government representatives. However, journalists face challenges when trying to get information from public authorities, particularly when the information is sensitive. Today, MAP and our partner NED launch a project that will bring stakeholders together to establish the much-needed access to information act’’
He continued by saying that this three-day training is a part of a larger strategy that would involve both state and non-state actors in implementing the act that is already stipulated in the media law that was enacted in 2016, _ said Mohamed Dahir – MAP chair.
On his part, the honorable Minister of Information, Mr. Mohamud Aideed called the event a much needed one that in his words should have come earlier.
”This training is an important one that in my opinion should have come early, it is important that media practitioners know their rights and understand the channels to reach out to when seeking information to be accurate. With that, i personally pledge to support MAP’s plan in developing the information act and meanwhile my Ministry is welcoming journalists and willing to facilitate requests to information” said the guest of honor for the event, Puntland’s Minister of information, communications, culture and heritage at his opening remarks.
The objectives of this training session was to:
* Increase participants’ knowledge on the Puntland access to information act;
* Boost understanding of the “right to know” as a leverage right
* Develop participants’ capacity to advocate for their right to know •
* Reflect on the status of access to information and identify key players in freedom of information, including the Puntland state institutions.
Grant 1299, in which this activity has been organized with support from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) will launch a state-wide lobby and advocacy with series of consultative forums that bring together government, media and CSO groups to discuss the development of the access to information act.
The purpose of this Act is to enhance the accountability and transparency of the Puntland State institutions by providing the media to access government data in order to promote an open and democratic society and to enable public debate on the conduct of those institutions.