The Federal Government of Somalia is pleased to report on the progress of the stakeholder consultation in the preparation of a draft Somali Media Law, and to correct the number of misrepresentations and misunderstandings that have recently been reflected in the press about this process.
The process of drafting the law takes several stages and the Ministry of Information, Posts, Telecommunications and Transport (MIPTT) has established a Technical Committee to coordinate this. The Committee consists of representatives of MIPTT, Office of the President, Office of the Prime Minister, legal expertise and the representative organisation of Somali journalists, NUSOJ. In addition to these representatives the Committee has sought international legal opinion, recognising that our law must comply with international law, as well as serve Somali media. This legal opinion has been given by international expert NGO Article 19 (whose analysis has already been approved of and quoted by several commentators) the Oxford University Programme in Comparative Media Law and Policy (PCMLP) and the German Press Council (a member of the IFJ). These contributions have been coordinated by the AU/UN Information Support Team on behalf of the Somali Media Support Group, whose members include all the major international organisations supporting Somalia, NGOs and media operators that are in Somalia or act on behalf of Somali media.
Through this consultation our draft Somali media law has been cross-referenced with:
· International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
· African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
· Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression in Africa.
· African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information.
· The joint declarations of the three international mandates on freedom of expression:
o the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression
o the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, Representative on Freedom of the Media
o the Organization of American States Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression
Before the re-draft is presented to Parliament there will be regional consultation so that journalists, civil society and stakeholders throughout Somalia will have the chance to discuss and contribute to the law.
Throughout the review and consultative process the re-drafting of the law has been in Somali hands, under the MIPTT.
The Prime Minister and the President have both held meetings with Somali journalists and gave assurances that the law will protect Somali journalists’ rights and responsibilities. This commitment is demonstrated by the work of the Technical Committee and its inclusive consultations.
Technical Committee on Media Law