The Somali Media Support Group (SMSG) held its first meeting in Mogadishu on Thursday (June 26th), with Minister of Information Mustafa Duhulow welcoming and thanking the group for convening in Mogadishu.
SMSG, which aims to support and develop the Somali media and has members from international civil society organisations, United Nations agencies, and donor countries including the European Union and United States, previously held its monthly meetings in Nairobi.
The group's move to convene in Mogadishu shows the "increased collaboration between group and the Somali media in general", according to a statement from the Somali Ministry of Information.
"Somali federal government hugely welcomes the SMSG's support to Somali media," Duhulow said. "In particular, since Somalia is now moving away from chaos and lawlessness to an era of peace and stability, it is essential that media plays a significant role [in] the peace-building and state-building of the nation."
During his address to the group, Duhulow gave his condolences to the family and colleagues of journalist Yusuf Ahmed Keynan, killed on June 21st.
"This is one of the huge challenges that we have as extremists deliberately target journalists in order to silence media," he said. "We need to unite efforts to stop impunity and to redouble our support towards Somali media development."
The meeting was co-chaired by Aleem Saddique, spokesperson of the United Nations Mission in Somalia and Jaco du Toit from United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
Private media representatives included Mohamed Ibrahim, secretary general of the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), Ismail Sheikh Khalif, vice chairman of Somali Independent Media House Association, and Farhio Khaire from Somali Women Journalists.