Media Roundtable on Election Preparedness held in Mogadishu, Somalia
A roundtable on election preparedness took place on 28 September 2016 in Mogadishu, Somalia in order to provide key media outlets and media associations with a platform to discuss challenges faced during elections and propose possible solutions in preparation to the forthcoming elections in Somalia.
During the roundtable, participants identified series of challenges that they face and if mitigated will ensure a balanced and professional coverage of the forthcoming elections in Somalia. Some of the challenges mentioned by the participants included; Lack of professionalism and non-application of journalism ethics and standards by journalists, lack of access to information on the electoral process; lack of proper accreditation of journalists covering elections, lack of safety and security of journalists and media houses and continuous harassment of journalist and media by security actors in Somalia.
Proposed solutions, by participants, to aforementioned challenges included; need to encourage professionalism and application of journalism ethics and standards in coverage of elections, need for efficient access to information on the electoral processes by journalists, ensure accreditation of all journalists covering elections, ensure safety and security of journalists and media, and protection of journalists and media from harassment by security actors.
At the end of roundtable, Daud Aweys, a spokesperson for the Somalia state house stated that “The Government is taking measures to ensure that the issues with accreditation and access to information is properly addressed in order to enable the journalists to have the benefit of freedom of expression during elections. He also called for “Common understanding among media stakeholders and Government in addressing problems such as safety of journalists and the importance of sharing information for the interest of the public.”
Abdullahi Hassan Ali, a representative from the media relations committee for election coverage at the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism also briefed participants on the role and purpose of the media relations committee in facilitating accreditation for the journalists in Somalia.
The roundtable attracted participation of 30 directors and managers from prominent media outlets and associations such as Somalia Media Association (SOMA), Somalia Independent Media Houses Association (SIMHA), and Media Association of Puntland (MAP), from Mogadishu, Baidoa, Kismayo, Jowhar, Baladweyn, Guriel, Galkaio and Garowe in Somalia.
The round table was organised by International Media Support (IMS) and Fojo Media Institute in cooperation with Somali media associations and with the support of UNESCO and the Swedish government. The roundtable meeting is connected to a series of election coverage training sessions for media which are being carried out in Mogadishu and other regions.
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