MOGADISHU, Somalia 05 June 2020 – Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) calls for the Somali Federal Parliament to reverse its decision to ban journalists from independent media from covering the Joint Session of the Federal Parliament scheduled on Saturday 6 June, 2020.
Also media officials of the Parliament told SJS, that following orders from parliament authorities they conveyed the decision to the independent media and journalists that bars independent media coverage, despite permitting only the state-owned media. “We condemn the decision to suspend independent media coverage during Saturday's Joint Session of both Houses of the Parliament. We call for the Parliament officials to reverse their decision unconditionally and allow independent media to cover the event,” Abdalle Ahmed Mumin, the secretary-general of Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) said.
According to officials who spoke to SJS, the Saturday's Joint Session will discuss plans for conducting the 2020/2021 elections within the constitutional timeframe and therefore it is expected Somali president, Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo to address the opening of the 7th Session of both Houses of the Parliament. SJS vehemently opposes any restrictions against the independent media and journalists covering the Somali Parliament.
The Parliament is the core branch, which oversights the country's democratic institutions, and only through the independent media will the public know about what legislations are being processed especially in this critical time ahead of the general elections. “Somalia's whole democratic process will be undermined if journalists and independent media houses are not allowed to cover all proceedings of the important political events including the parliamentary debates on election plans and to properly scrutinize the elected representatives,” Abdalle Ahmed Mumin, the Secretary-General of Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) adds.
In October last year, the Lower House of the Somali Federal Parliament barred independent media from covering their sessions on what was described as lack of adequate space for the journalists inside the Parliament. The decision was, however, revoked after SJS and local media houses protested.