Garowe,Puntland,Somalia 25th October 2015: As part of the Media Association of Puntland’s campaign on the Puntland media law reform, today at 36th Puntland parliament session the association has given a speech at the session urged both parliament and government officials to respect the media freedom and collaborate on the review of the controversial media law as of the outcome of the 19-20/9/2015 consultative media stake holders workshop held in Garowe that invited 20members of parliament, Civil society groups, media, lawyers, Ministry of information and with the presence of the international community.
The media law was approved by the Parliament July 2014, the Parliament made several amendments to the draft media Law. Unfortunately, the parliament considered this legislation without an open process, public hearing or consultation of stakeholders. Furthermore, Parliament’s version of the media law is not in agreement with the Puntland State Constitution and international conventions to which Somalia is a signatory, which guarantee freedom of expression and media rights for every individual. Nor does it conform with the Declaration of Principles on Freedom and Expression and Access to Information of the African commission for Human and Peoples’ Rights.
Faisal MAP chair at his speech said ‘’on behalf of the Puntland media professionals it is of our due responsibility to protect the rights of the Puntland media professionals at the same time we exist to capacity build the Puntland Journalist to ensure the quality of what they inform the society, we have been complaining on the restrictive Puntland media law for quite a long-time. Mr. President a good example is, since 2014 we have met:
- 18times with the ministry of information,
- 3times with you (President) in which we expressed our concerns on the media law.
- Alternatively on the 19-20/Sept 2015 we held a media stakeholder consultative workshop attended by twenty-parliamentarians, Ministry of information, lawyers and the international community on which the outcome of this workshop suggested a review on the controversial media law with through an appointment of an expert committee to do a preliminary review, but nothing is moving from the government. We (MAP) hereby call for the government’s collaboration to facilitate the review process and to respect the freedom of speech, if we the media are demanding for an illegal right then prove us wrong and justify your prove in a legal progress, if not then lets collaborate on revising the law and put it in conformity to both the Puntland constitution and to the international conventions’’ said Faisal in his speech.
Puntland human rights defender noted ‘’what Puntland demands today is rights, whether media, security and or development all are entitled to have the rights and this is the what we all expect from you legislators’’.
The kind of news that gets “silenced” is exactly the kind that the public needs to know. Information is quintessential in order to make the best decisions in their lives, be it economic, social or political. This access to reliable and quality information is the very cornerstone of democracy, good governance, and effective institutions.
This is not the first time that the media association to give a speech at the parliament on the media law issue, Earlier 27th October 2014 MAP appealed to the legislators at the 34th Puntland parliament session .End.
Call media law reform campaign
MEDIA RIGHTS CONCERN IN PUNTLAND: The media association of Puntland on a reminder note would like to keep the international media interest groups to support MAP towards the campaign for the review of Puntland restrictive media law. Off recent 18/10/2015 received a NO-COLLABORATION answer from the Puntland Ministry of Information in a follow-up meeting to accelerate the outcomes of the 19-20/Sept/2015 media stakeholder consultative meeting which suggested for an appointment of an expert committee to make a first review.