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Three Days Workshop on Freedom of the Press Concluded in Gabiley

Updated: Feb 2, 2020

The Institute for Practical Research and Training (IPRT) held a Freedom of the Press training workshop from 11th -13th May at the Bookh Hotel in Gabiley, Somaliland. The purpose of the workshop was to train both the journalists and the local authorities on freedom of the press. The workshop was funded by the IMS/FOJO under its Somalia/Somaliland media program.

The workshop was attended by 30 participants including journalists, local city councillors, and office of the governor. Gabiley has been a one of the region which got the highest rates of journalist arrest and detentions in 2017 were four journalists had been detained by the local authorities without warrant.

On the opening remarks, Mr. Abdullahi Hassan, the Program Manager welcomed the attendees and in his keynote address explained the purpose of the workshop which is on the protection of the freedom of the press. He also pointed out the objectives of the workshop.

Mr Mohamud Jama, SOLJA Chairman walked the participants through the importance of coming together and discussing pressing issues between the local authorities and the journalist. He stressed out that a realization was made after that a lot of concerns had been raised by the journalists, public officials and general public media and Members of and it became essential to explore way of solving the issue.

Mr. Abdi Yusuf, the deputy mayor of Gabiley city, who was also a participant by himself, inaugurated the workshop by thanking IPRT and its funding partners in bringing the opportunity to have a dialogue with the journalists, who work in the region, to sort out their “differences” in the freedom of the press and its protection, which he has pointed out the journalists, are the ones who are violating, by wrongly reporting.

Mr. Yusuf also expressed that the government officials are also to be blamed on arresting journalist without warrant over minor issues which could be solved easily. He highlighted the journalists who are working under dire economic situations, which a lot of them are not paid, are still working hard to sustain impartiality among the politicians as Gabiley is a playground for the political parties. He stressed the need to have such workshop to be brought into Gabiley.

The workshop was facilitated by Barkhad Karie, who is a well known journalist, working for the Voice of America, as a reporter at the Somali Service in Hargeisa.

At the end of the workshop, a friendly atmosphere was concluded between the journalists and the local councillors that declared to work with the local media and protect the freedom of the press to the most and these recommendations were the outcome of the workshop:

1· Have a constructive relationship based on the rule of law between the authorities and the journalist in general.

2· Most of the journalist are not given salary let alone get transportation expenses, and this causes most of the conflict as they become “brown envelope journalists”

3. Financial independence is needed to sustain and to protect the freedom of the press in general.

4· Most of the local authority officials are not familiar with the freedom of the press and much training is needed to be given to the local Councillors, police and the judiciary.

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