A highly organized ceremony, intended for the launch of new independent body with name Somali Independent Media Houses Association that will represent the interest of the Radio Employers, was held at the Jazeera hotel in Mogadishu.
The ceremony was invited to government officials, media bosses, civil society representatives among them the Minister of Information, Posts and Telecommunication, members of the parliament, spokesperson of the Somali Prime Minister, A president's Advisor and spokesperson, head of Somalia's civil society coalition, leaders of the National Union of Somali Journalists, veteran journalists, other civil society and human rights defenders, media chiefs, to mention a few.
After opening with the Quranic verses, the chairman of the Somali Independent Media Houses Association (SIMHA), Hassan Ali Gesey who is also the director of the Dalsan Radio based in Mogadishu detailed the goals of the association and what it stands for.
Mr. Hassan said that the SIMHA represents 18 radio stations across the country apart from Somaliland and it is aimed to defend the interests of the media owners. The membership is open and reiterated that they will sit down the remaining radio stations to keep the unity of the media houses.
Mr. Gesey underscored that SIMHA is not a challenge to any existing media institutions and promised that they will work with all media houses in the country, share ideas and develop programs in boosting the industry. We are pleased to announce that a new media consortium named Somali Independent Media Houses Association - SIMHA, is established today (26-December-2013) by a group of media houses in Somalia. The new media consortium now represents a total 18 member media houses with additional media entities expected to join in the near future. Membership is open. We're thrilled to welcome all prominent media companies into our partnership. Under licensed at the new consortium, the media houses are already in operational across the capital and all major cities of Somalia.
The consortium serves to create a more informed public and expanding the perspectives of our media houses by strengthening the civic and cultural life of communities we serve. The role of the SIMHA is to help member media houses drive innovation across their coverage areas. We do that by convening people around new ideas, and by building communities that encourage exploration and experimentation. Partnering with professional journalists and media workers, our media houses bring youth perspectives on pressing issues of the day via syndication to major media outlets.
"I was elected to lead the association for three months as it gives a united voice for the radio owners in the country in defending and promoting their interests." Hassan Ali Gesey, Chairman of SIMHA, who is also the Director of Dalsan radio said in his opening remarks at the launch ceremony, "We welcome the international organizations and donors with an interest with our organization."
Abdullahi Elmoge Hersi, the Minister of Information, Posts and Telecommunication, appreciated the initiative from the Radio employers to form such association and pledged the government's readiness in working with them. "This association gives us the opportunity to deal with the radio employers instead of dealing all the radio stations separately and advised that the association comes up with new strategy to unify all the radio employers in the country." Minister Elmoge said in his opening remarks at the launch.
Senior Advisor to the Somali president and spokesperson of the Somali Presidency and Eng. Abdurrahman Omar Osman "Eng. Yarisow" highlighted the importance of the association at a time the Somali media are working under tough conditions such as threats, intimidation and targeted assassinations and stated that radio stations have the largest audience in the country and have responsibilities to work toward peace development, reconciliation and rebuilding of the nation.
Spokesperson of the office of the Somali Prime Minister, Ridwaan Haji Abdiweli praised the media owners in forming this association and welcomed the initiative. He pointed out the unity is key issue in developing the media sector and likewise in the national interest, which you as media owners can drive the country into peaceful environment or vise versa. He urged that they come up with a strategy and pledged their commitment in working with the new association.
Abdullahi Mohamed Shirwac, chairman of Somalia South/Central Non-state Actors - a coalition of more than 50 civil society organizations said that it was a crucial moment for the launch of this association and that he was delighted to see that 18 radio stations are showing sense of unity which he said in a sign that the country is moving from two decades of civil strife, lawlessness into full fledged government in which people are understanding the importance of professional associations and their importance in defending best of their interests. "On behalf of SOSCENSA, I declare that we are ready to work with the association as media organizations are our key partners and we will offer as much as we can depending their request such as offering venues for your conference.." said Abdullahi Mohamed Shirwac, Chairman of SOSCENSA.
National Union of Somali Journalists' Secretary General, Mohamed Ibrahim emphasized the importance radio owners to have such an association representing their interest and on behalf of NUSOJ, he declared that he will work with the association.
SIMHA will develop dialogues among the media owners, present ideas to develop the business advertisement in the industry which is currently looming and will boost the capacity of the media managers in managerial wise to ensure the industry's sustainability and the development of Editorial policy for its members. Freedom of expression and the media freedoms, peace development and human rights are at the heart of this association.
Here is the list of member media houses:
1. Radio Dalsan,
2. Radio Star FM,
3. Radio Banaadir,
4. Radio Danan,
5. Radio Banadir,
6. VOD Radio Xamar,
7. Wadaag Radio,
8. Radio Maanta,
9. Radio Baydhabo,
10. Radio VOS (Kismaayo),
11. Radio Simba,
12. Radio Jowhar,
13. Radio Afgoye,
14. Radio Merka,
15. Radio Xurmo,
16. Al-ixsaan, Cadaado Galguduud
17. Codka bartamaha, Hiiraan
18. Radio Horyaal