At the end of one day workshop held in Hargeisa at Hotel Maansoor on 3rd November 2018, participants attended the workshop collectively concluded this joint communiqué on the advocacy ending media impunity and inauguration of international day of freedom on the 2nd November 2018 and agreed to uphold the following draft principles as of 3rd November 2018:-
Core proposed principles:
- Principle 1: Whoever Living in the Republic of Somaliland Should Respect Rule of Law;
- Principle 2: Reeducation of criminalization of media cases;
- Principle 3: Promote Journalist Protection and Media Independence;
- Principle 4: Promote Media Sector Professionalism;
- Principle 5: Strengthening Working Relationship among all Stakeholders;.
- Principle 1: Whoever Living in the Republic of Somaliland Should Respect Rule of Law:
- All stakeholders of Government institutions of law enforcement, judicial institutions, media houses, Journalists, civil society and business sector must respect the rule of law;
- The ongoing reform of the existing Somaliland Press Law no.27/2004 must be aligned with Article 32(3) of the Constitution of Somaliland, regional and international media practices and standards;
- The exercise of freedom of expression “Freedom of the person shall not override the laws protecting the public morals, the security of the country or the rights of other individuals, Art 25(4)” Somaliland Constitution.
- Principle 2: Reduction of criminalization of media cases:
- All Media houses, Journalists, editors and media owners should commit to refrain defamation, libeling and slanders, which are contrary to the National, Regional and International Media Standards;
- The Government of Somaliland should discontinue the Penal Code of 1962, which is irrelevant to the principles of the Somaliland Constitution, media and other national laws;
- The Government of Somaliland, national and international non-governmental organizations should continue their efforts on the reduction of criminalization of media.
- Principle 3: Promote Journalist Protection and Media Independence:
- All forms of extra judicial arrests against Journalists should be ended immediately and in case of Journalist arrest it must be due to process of law;
- Law enforcement institutions of Police, Prosecutors and Judges should promote protection of journalist by respecting the principle of innocent, “An accused person is innocent until proven guilty in a court, Art 26(3) Somaliland Constitution”.
- Media independence should not be assumed to impair national security, territorial integrity, public safety, promotion of disorder or crime, health or morals, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary, journalist should not misuse media independence to harm security.
- Principle 4: Promote Media Sector Professionalism:
- All stakeholders recognize the need to develop Journalism professionalism as the key of media development and reduction of criminalization of media cases, except when law permits;
- The Government of Somaliland, national civil society organizations and international non-governmental organizations should maximize their efforts towards media sector professionalism; including allotment of particular funds and resource to enhance professional training for Journalists, University studies of journalism.
- Principle 5: Strengthening working relationship among all stakeholders:
- The Ministry of Information should always act as the line Ministry and facilitate a platform promoting media independence;
- The need to strengthen working relationship between Ministry of Information and Media sector should be given special attention for the interest of media development and independence;
- Ministry of Information, media and civil society organizations (CSOs) should pursue conflict resolution mechanism all the time.
- Principle 6: Media should promote awareness rising
- Media should promote issues of awareness-raising;
- Media should promote the issues of Somaliland’s national interest.
The purpose of this communiqué to advocate ending impunity against media and create enabling environment for the independence of media.