The Somali prime Minister, his excellency Abdi Farah Shirdoon invited Journalists, union leaders and media representatives at a dinner on Thursday evening, 18 July, 2013 on face to face talk meant to hear the concerns of the Somali media community in general and especially toward the draft media law, among others. The prime minister is accompanied by the minister of Information, posts, Telecommunication and transport, Abdullaahi Ciilmooge Hersi and his deputy, Abdishakur Ali Mire and members of the media department of the office of the Somali Prime Minister.
The dinner, which was organized by the Media department of the office of the Somali prime minister, follows after the council of ministers recently approved a draft media law. Though, the draft has been consulted with the Somali media stakeholders, raised some concerns in some of the articles in the draft. Thus, The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) proposed amendments to the draft based on the concerns of the Somali media fraternity to be incorporated into the draft before submitting into the Somali parliament.
Ridwaan Haji Abdiweli, the spokesperson of the Somali government, who is a well respected Somali journalist who joined recently into the ranks of the office of the Somali prime minister, welcomed each and everyone and said the purpose of the dinner is to sit with the prime minister, hear from you and talk to you in an open and transparent way.
The Secretary General of the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), Mohamed Ibrahim who spoke on behalf of the media community, thanked the Somali prime minister and members of the media department for arranging this delightful meeting, where we have an opportunity we can share our concerns and exchange ideas. Then, the Secretary General of the NUSOJ, Mr. Ibrahim briefed the Somali prime minister about the draft media bill and explained all the articles NUSOJ had submitted to the Ministry of Information for consideration. The articles include but not limited to protection of sources, the independence of the National Media Council, balancing the council powers, lifting the suspension of the journalists if convicted and access to information.
The minister of information, Abdullaahi Ciilmooge Hersi, thanked the Somali media for their contribution to the draft media law, declaring that this law belongs to you, it is not meant to suppress you, but however defends the interests of the Somali journalists. Minister Hersi welcomed the NUSOJ’s proposed amendments upon receive and have been submitted to the lawyers for consideration and be incorporated into the draft before submitting to the parliament and commended the NUSOJ for the excellent work they are undertaking.
“However, it is still a draft and your recommendations and comments are most welcome to ensure that the media law is in line with the international norms and standards.” The minister of information, Abdullaahi Ciilmooge Hersi.
Other journalists and media representatives raised other concerns from the media industry and the journalists.
The Somali prime minister, Abdi Farah Shirdon, after listening the journalists and the media representatives, highlighted the media role and responsibilities in a nation building and praised the journalists for their dedication.
Regarding the media law, the prime minister said “that the draft bill is your law, you have been given an opportunity to comment and contribute and in front you, the minister of information pledged his commitment in considering your comments and contribution and now your proposed amendments has been considered.”
The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) thanked the government for their close collaboration to the Somali media and its openness and willingness to work with the Somali journalists.