Sunday, November 18, 2007

Press Release

Somaliland Journalists Association
We hereby inform your esteemed institution that there is a draft prepared by the government of Somaliland, which it intends to table it in parliament as a new media law. The preparation of the draft, which was mentioned by local media, had no media involvement and at the same time it is contrary to the freedom of expression in most parts.

The Somaliland Journalists Association chairman, Mr. Mustafe Abdi Esse accompanied by other top officials from SOLJA, met the minister of information in regard to the issue. The minister stated that the draft was still raw and has not been forwarded to the lawmakers yet.

We hereby inform you to make sure that you are informed on the matter though it has not been brought to parliament yet.

The Somaliland media reported that the draft has been forwarded to parliament. The draft contains articles such as:

Any media house or other publications can be suspended by orders from the minister of information or his assistant, if they have been published against the new law and it can cost the media house to loose all its assets to the government with consultation with the court of law.

The media house has the right to appeal and sake compensation if the court of appeal deems it legal. (Article 102 of the draft)

If the editor refuses to take an article from the public, the citizen would appeal to the minister who would then order the editor to publish the article. (article 46)

Local and foreign journalists would only travel to other parts of the country with the consent of the minister.(article 26)

Local media houses cannot seek aid from anybody who is not a Somaliland citizen. (Article 51 and 52)

The draft consist of 120 such articles and SOLJA would no accept or tolerate anything that it deems contrary to the freedom of expression or which would jeopardize or threaten the Somaliland journalists daily work in any way.

We are optimistic that the Somaliland government would not make such a move and that we hope that the government will invite the media body if there is any changes it wants to make to the existing media law, which was drafted with the involvement of SOLJA as per agreement between the President, the minister and SOLJA recently.

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