Somalia: Media Community Rejects the Proposed Law on Media

Regulation & Policy

The media community in Mogadishu concluded, at a debate held on July 18, 2013, organized by the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), that the contents and the manner of preparation of the draft Law on Media proposed by the Government were utterly unacceptable.

More than 30 media representatives coming from radio stations, television network operators, newspaper and international news organisations expressed their objections to the proposed draft law and raised the question whether there is a need for such a repressive law on media in Somalia.

As noted in the discussions, the draft Law goes well beyond the area of broadcasting media, the only media sector traditionally licenced by a legal system, and pushes the media and the journalists further into self-censorship. National Media Council is not independent and journalists will have to disclose their confidential sources and while representatives and journalists working for foreign media are discriminated.

The draft law met unanimous condemnation of the meeting and it was termed another attempt against the freedom of expression and media.

“The media community has taken a unified position on this draconian and repressive draft law on media” said Mohamed Bashir Hashi, Chair of NUSOJ Branch in Mogadishu and Editor of Radio Shabelle. “This draft has a lot of problems and we cannot accept it”.

The Mogadishu media representatives called on the Federal Government to amend this severely restrictive bill, thus reaffirming the government’s commitment to media freedom and freedom of expression.

Parliamentarians who attended this meeting were informed that the draft law is an affront to the Constitution of Somalia, and the parliament was called on to reject the current draft. The draft fails to categorically state that it is an amendment to December 2007 Media Law thus raising the question of where is the amendment of December 2007 media law.

Mogadishu Media representatives expressed their preparedness to engage dialogue with the government and parliament to organize an active, inclusive and open process of consultations to come forward with a proposal for amendments to the existing draft media legislation that would best respond to the needs of a free media.