FESOJ welcomes the election agreement reached in Mogadishu following days of intense -negotiations by the heads of federal and state governments of Somalia. In particular, we wish to commend their promise as explicitly stated in article 12 of the final communique: “to guarantee freedom of expression and freedom of the press, and to the allow media outlets to carry out their responsibilities to inform the public, without any hinderance.”
“FESOJ congratulates the leaders for the consensus they have achieved, in particular, for their promise to provision uphold media freedom and guarantee journalists’ access to election-related information.” Mohamed Moalimuu FESOJ Secretary General.
Numerous attacks against the media such as arrests, threats and intimidation in the lead up to the elections aimed at silencing journalists have already happened. We call on all relevant authorities to respect the media rights including the freedom to publish election related information that maybe critical of the federal government and member states, full of coverage of opposing candidates and parties’ campaigns, and diverse debates or issues of national interest.
“In 2016 election, we witnessed a barrage of pressure and attacks on the media that has stifled the legitimate work of journalists to cover the elections. Given these lessons, we are asking the leaders of the Federal Government of Somalia and the regional states to make true their commitment and provide the media full guarantee to get access to the polling stations so that the public is properly informed.” Moalimuu added
In Somalia, elections are the most difficult times for journalists who face arrest, torture, and intimidation. FESOJ will provide support and training for journalists on election coverage, fighting disinformation, fake news and sensitive reporting in collaboration with its partners.