May 18, 2023: A statewide journalism course on Safety and the ethical election reporting that trained 75-local-reporters in total, and held in the Towns of Bosaso, Galkaio and the last one in Garowe respectively has ended today at the Dayah Hotel.
The 5-day tailored journalism course, implemented by MAP in partnership with the International Media Support (IMS) and supported by SIDA aimed to strengthen the skills of local reporters to professionally cover the Puntland Municipality elections.
This extensive course sharpened participant’s understanding through the interactive sessions on the important electoral ideas and the problems and difficulties that electoral stakeholders confront, helped them get a deeper knowledge on the Puntland local government’s elections model, got sensitized on their personal safety including digital security, and the significance of free and fair elections.
MAP chair, Mohamed Dahir, in his opening remarks at the Garowe event, spoke on the objectives of the state-wide course and the expectations needed from participants who take part of the course. In his inaugural remarks he said:
’’Journalists must rely on their expertise to provide detailed, corroborated, and objective information to their listeners, readers, and viewers in order to avoid controversy. That is exactely the objective of this tailored course and the reason behind why MAP has put efforts in providing this timely course that benefited 75-journalists in the towns of Bosaso, Galkaio and now in Garowe.
He added, thank you for your participation and we expect to see you cover the local elections with accuracy, objectivity, and correctness. You must accurately report and refrain from disseminating information that promotes conflict, incites violence, or endangers social cohesion since election-related worries grip communities, Said Mohamed Dahir, MAP chair.
The deputy chairperson of the Transitional Puntland Electoral commission (TPEC), Ali Jama (dhegacade) who paid a visit to the training venue in Garowe and delivered a keynote speech on TPEC’s role as well as the importance of the media in the forthcoming elections underlined;
MAP and TPEC signed a media code of conduct on election coverage back in May 2021, this document shall be a reference for all stakeholders, we will ensure that the media space is provided especially at the polling stations and will make sure that the media’s independence is respected and not interefered’’ said TPEC’s deputy chair during a keynote speech at one of the sessions.
On his part, Director General of Puntland Ministry of Information, Telecommunication, Tourism, Culture and Heritage, Eng. Mohamed Isse who presided over the official opening of the Garowe training, applauded MAP’s tireless efforts when it comes to promoting the professional capacity of Puntland media especially highlighting the training on election reporting at a time Puntland aims to move away from the previous undemocratic electoral model to a system that gives power back to citizens by allowing them to cast their votes and elect their representatives.
’’MAP is doing significant work especially now that we really need a professional media performance in educating the public, that most of them (citizens) have never witnessed or even experienced what democratic elections look like. I urge you to concentrate and learn from this course and adapt the knowledge in your jobs in informing the public’’ Said Eng. Mohamed Isse.
During the course of the training participants received the fundamental information needed to participate in electoral procedures as well as information on any obstacles they might encounter, ranging from physical difficulties to problems with digital security. In addition, the fundamentals of unbiased reporting, international and regional election instruments, a deeper understanding of the Puntland local government elections model, and reporting standards were among the core topics covered in this tailored course.
The pilot Puntland municipal elections held on October 25, 2021 were acclaimed as a success in terms of democracy and decentralization of power.
May 25 2023 is the date set to hold the municipality elections for the remaining 37-districts. Per the TPEC figures, 385,075 persons were the total eligible voter registrants from across the thirty seven districts that will cast their ballots on MAY 25 , 2023. Women voters were the majority registrants who made 50.6%, and the men at 49.4%.