30.06.2017 - UNESCO Office in Nairobi

UNESCO and VIKES trains Somali Police on Media Rights

Detective Chief Superintendent Thomas Elfgren from the National Bureau of Investigation/UNESCO

A Somali National Police Force training on Freedom of Expression, Safety of journalists and public order took place in Mogadishu, Somalia, from 4 to 6 May 2017, in partnership with the Finnish Foundation for Media and Development (VIKES) and funded by the Government of Sweden. The training aimed at improving understanding among police officers of the importance of independent media in society.

It is most important that citizens trust the ability of the police to maintain public order and safety, and media can be very helpful for that purpose,” noted Thomas Elfgren, a Detective Chief Superintendent from the National Bureau of Investigation in Finland, during the Somali National Police Force training on freedom of expression, safety of journalists and public order.

As part of an ongoing partnership between UNESCO and the Finnish Foundation for Media and Development (VIKES), this training was held at the Somali National Police Force headquarters in Mogadishu, Somalia, from May 4 to 6, 2017 and funded by the Government of Sweden.

Aimed at improving the understanding among police officers of the importance of independent media in society, the training was attended by 21 local police officers, including the commanders of Mogadishu Police District and facilitated by Detective Chief Superintendent Thomas Elfgren, together with experienced journalists and media rights advocates from Finland and Somalia.

During the training, Mogadishu police district commanders learned about the legal backgrounds of freedom of expression and access to information, best practices by law enforcement officers for interaction with media and general public, and key facts about Somalia’s new Media Law.

The training also made reference to the UNESCO’s training manual on freedom of expression and public order, especially the chapters focusing on safety of journalists, how security forces can assist journalists to access the information they need, and operational safety procedures when dealing with the media.

“This training was very useful for my future job performance. I have learned how to share truthful information with journalists, how to respect media rights, and not to arrest journalists without evidence of any criminal offences,” said Lieutenant Colonel Khalif Abdulle Maalin, commander of Mogadishu’s Dharkenley police district.

“We need more trainings of this kind. It would be important that also representatives from the media would attend the same training as participants to allow more dialogue and bridge-building,” Mr. Khalif suggested.

This activity falls within UNESCO's action to foster freedom of expression online and offline, promote the safety of journalists and is expected to contribute to the long term goal of integrating the training into the Somalia Police training curriculum.




<- Back to: All news