Federation of Somali Journalists (FESOJ) condemns the decision by the Somali parliament to prevent most of the independent media from reporting on the official opening of 7th Session of the Somali Parliament on Saturday June 6, 2020.
FESOJ has learnt with concern that most of the journalists from independent media were informed not to attend the important session at which the President of the Federal Government of Somalia addressed members of both houses of parliament which is unacceptable to Somali people, independent media and their Federation.
“The parliament represents the people of Somalia and it is the single most important institution to this country. Its decisions and activities affect the public directly, so it is unfortunate that that most of the independent media were denied access to parliament today.
“Journalists should be allowed to do the important work of informing the public — as long as journalists do not violate the rules and protocols of the Parliament, this restriction could be considered a crackdown on journalists and denial of access to any worth news information” Mohamed Ibrahim Moalimuu, FESOJ Secretary General told journalists at a press conference in Mogadishu on Saturday.
FESOJ considers the President’s speech is a public interest matter and was supposed to be broadcast to the nation to keep them well-informed on public policy matters. However, barring of these vital media outlets through which people could find that important information is even more worrisome.
FESOJ is dismayed by the decision of the Speakers of both houses of Somali parliaments that prevented the independent media from attending the opening session and that’s completely contrary to the democratic values and laws of the country that specifically allows journalists to operate with protection of the freedom of speech and the free flow of information, two cornerstones enshrined in the Constitution and must be observed by the parliament.
“The state-run media was the only media singlehandedly chosen to livestream the event; therefore we would like to call for the government give equal access as the state media to the private independent media” Moalimuu added.
FESOJ will submit a written complaint to the Speakers of both Houses of Somali Parliament seeking an explanation on the decision independent journalists were barred from the important session since it so important now that all sides should guarantee the access to information in this crucial moment as our country prepares for elections.
On the other hand, FESOJ welcomes the release of a Somali journalist & social media activist Abdimalik Muse Oldon by the Somaliland authority on Saturday 06 June, 2020 from Hargeisa prison. Marodi Jeh court sentenced him 3 & half year jail on July 8, 2019. Somaliland has since held the journalist who routinely languished in prison incommunicado.