NUSOJ Supports Media Community in Puntland, Calling Puntland President not to Sign the Media Legislation into a law


The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), supports calls from Media Association for Puntland (MAP) and the media fraternity in Puntland, calling for the Puntand president not to sign the recent adopted media legislation into a law, which curbs media freedoms Puntland.

On 19 July 2014, Puntland Parliament endorsed draft media law that was previously written under broad consultation by Ministry of Information and the media stakeholders but some of the terms of the bill were later changed or replaced by the ministry of Information, which led an outrage.

The bill includes but not limited to, that every journalist and media station be registered under the Ministry of Information, creates a government controlled Media council that is chaired by an official from the Ministry of Information,, prohibits exposing government secrecy – a term that the bill does not give proper definition and thus criminalizes the profession by stating that journalists can be taken to criminal courts rather the civil courts and the media law itself.

The Media Association for Puntland (MAP), an affiliate to NUSOJ protested the move and held protests across several towns. Prominent journalists and media stakeholders gathered at the town of Boosaaso on Wednesday calling for the Puntland president, Abdi Mohamed Ali not to sign the media legislation into a law.

“The Media Law passed by the parliament was not the right one which the ministry and the media stakeholders worked together and agreed and was defining the rights of the journalists, the media and that of the government”” Omar Said Mohamed, MAP Information Officer and NUSOJ Coordinator in Puntland said at a protest held in the town of Bosaso, “We call for the Puntland President, Abdiweli Gaas not sign it into a law and return it to the stakeholders for further consultations.”

The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) supports its affiliate and the journalists in Puntland in calling for the Puntland president not to sign the bill into a law, which if signed could pose significant dangers to both the journalists and the media as it violates the media freedoms and the journalists’ rights.

“We have put all our efforts to get a media law that have proper local and international standards,” Burhaan AhmedDaahir, NUSOJ Supreme Council president said, “But the way it was handled and passed by the parliament shows the government’s willingness to control the media.”

“We urge president Abdiweli Gaas not to sign that media bill, hopeful that you will consider the demands from the media community in Puntland.”Mr. Daahir added.