Somali Independent Media Houses Association (SIMHA) welcomes today's launch of the Consultative Meeting of the Media Development in Somalia.
SIMHA and other Somali journalists' leaders attended today's consultative meeting that the Ministry of Information of the Federal Government of Somalia organized in order to genuinely discuss the best ways that all stakeholders in the media can play a strong role in the media development of Somalia.
We, the independent media unions in Somalia are very pleased to the commitment and the determination of the new Minister of Information H.E. Abdirahman Omar Osman (Eng. Yarisow) to prioritize the freedom of expression and his readiness to review the media law after we submitted our concerns. Apart from Ministries of Information from regional states in Somalia, other participants included representatives of the Independent media unions included Mohamed Ibrahim Moalimuu, the elected Secretary General of the National Union of Somali Journlaists (NUSOJ), the Chairperson of SIMHA, the Chairperson of Somali Media Associations (SOMA), Ms Farhia Khaire, the Chairperson of the Somali Women's Journalists Association, representatives from Somali Women's Youth Wing Journalists Association and directors of media outlets in the country.
The Chairman of SIMHA Mr Hassan Ali Gesey spoke at the opening ceremony of the launch of the Consultative Meeting of the Media Development in Somalia and stressed the importance of consultations on key issues that matter to journalists, as journalists are key stakeholders in the media development of Somalia. Gesey also stated that Somalia is getting peace and stable therefore, media has a huge role to provide accurate, objective and impartial information to the public. Somali journalists becoming more professionalism and their union leaders are elected through an inclusive, representative and transparency process, which is vital to the legitimacy and mandate of union leaders. Legitimacy and mandate comes from media stakeholders and Somali journalists. This is the time to unite the efforts of media stakeholders to the media development of the country.
Mr Gesey also raised the concerns of the arrest of Ismail, a journalist in Jowhar town, Middle Shabelle region of Hirshabelle State of Somalia without due process and asked the Minister of Information to look into this matter urgently. SIMHA is also very pleased to the response of the new Minister of Information H.E. Abdirahman Omar Osman (Eng. Yarisow) as he stated that he spoke to Hirshabelle President and the Director of Universal TV and assured us that the journalists will be released soon. This is good news to all journalists.
SIMHA and other Somali Journalists Union are ready to provide their feedback, comments of the review of the Media Law and in particular to the clauses that Somali journalists have concerns as soon as possible. SIMHA thanks the Minister of Information for his courageous decision to review the Media Law and to consult with key stakeholders in the media. This approach gives us confidence that we can all work to promote the freedom of expression, as enshrined in article 18 of the provisional constitution of Somalia. Somalis love media, therefore, we all have high expectations and hopes that Somali media will strive to be a role model to other African countries.