Communique on Media Development in Somalia

The Ministers of Information of the Federal Government of Somalia and the Federal Member States of Somalia, along with umbrella organizations of journalists and private media in Somalia held a conference at City Palace Hotel in Mogadishu city, from 24 – 25 November 2015. The Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism of the Federal Government of Somalia, Mr. Mohamed Abdi Hayir (Mareye) chaired the conference.

The conference was attended by the minister of information of the Federal Government of Somalia, ministers of information of the Federal member States (the Information Minister of Jubbaland State, Mr. Abdinur Ali Adan, the Information Minister of Southwest State, Mr. Hasan Abdi Mohamud, the Information Minister of GalMudug State, Mr. Mohamed Aden Osman), and a delegation led by Puntland Presidency Spokesman, Mr. Abdullahi Muhammad Jama (Quraanjecel). Also present were representatives from Benadir, Hiiraan and Middle Shabelle regional administrations, representatives of journalists union, private media professionals and representatives from other governments and international media support organizations.

The conference was supported by United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) in collaboration with the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism of the Federal Government of Somalia. The United Nations Special Representative for Somalia, Nicholas Kay, attended the opening session of the conference.

Outcomes and actions of the conference

1. The ministers welcomed and thanked United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) for making this important conference possible. They also thanked IMS and Fojo agencies for preparing the media planning and strategic program, and for gathering important information during their visits to the regions of the country aimed at finding out the needs and challenges faced by media professionals operating in the regional administrations and how to overcome those problems.
2. The ministers exchanged important information related to political, security, economic, social and media issues in Somalia.
3. The ministers agreed on the need for a clear strategy and defined program by the ministry of information and the media community to promote peace and stability in the country, and to combat terrorism and extremism.
4. The ministers agreed to establish cooperation at all levels such as registration of media organizations operating in the country, licensing organizations of this nature, and a good and direct communication on the new developments in every town and district.
5. The ministers agreed that the passing of the draft media law to be postponed for 15 days so that the Federal member states can have the opportunity to thoroughly review the law.
6. The ministers agreed to cooperation in enforcing the law after the bill is passed. The regional governments will have representatives in the national media committee that will be formed in order to handle the complaints and take disciplinary actions against individuals or organizations who contravene the law or the codes of conduct of the media professionals.
7. The ministers evaluated the circumstances in which journalists operate. They applauded the significant progress achieved by the Somali media. They confirmed that the government is committed to uphold the freedom of the press and freedom of speech as stipulated in Article 18 of the Provisional Constitution.
8. The ministers agreed on the need for permanent peace and stability in Somalia for the success of the ongoing security operations and the developmental efforts in the country. The central government and the regional governments shall cooperate and engage in public awareness raising and reconciliation activities that would build a foundation of mutual respect and understanding between all the communities.
9. The ministers underlined that the collaboration of media actors plays a role in raising community awareness that will ideally restore the needed trust and confidence among the local populations and communities.
10. The ministers condemned the unlawful killings, arrests and threats towards the Somali journalists by terrorist groups and other parties. They called upon the security forces to find the perpetrators and bring them before the courts.
11. The ministers applauded and thanked the international partners (governments) and media support organizations, and called upon them to increase their support to the Somali media which is entering a new phase.
12. The ministers jointly recognized the need for the international media support organizations who receive funds in the name of Somali media to submit their programs to the information ministries, at a federal or state levels, in order to avoid duplications of programs that do not reflect the real needs of the media industry.
13. The ministers called on the media support organizations and agencies to get registration in the information ministries, at federal or state levels, and submit their complete action plan to the ministry.
14. The ministers recognized the need for a unified plan by the information ministries, at federal or state levels, to satisfy the need of the people of Somalia for awareness on the provisions of the constitution, federalism system and the elections.
15. The ministers agreed to conduct awareness programs on security, patriotism, unity and trust among individuals, districts and clans of Somalia.
16. The ministers encouraged the security operations and applauded the achievements of the Somali armed forces and AMISOM, and called upon them to eradicate anti-peace groups and UGUS [Somali acronym of a term used by Somali security officials for Al-Shabaab].
17. The ministers agreed to convene another conference in January 2016 to approve the plan and strategy for development of Somali media for the upcoming five years.
18. The ministers called upon the governments, agencies and organizations that support the Somali media to increase and maintain their support for the plans of the ministries, which will be implemented equally across the country.