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National Union Of Somaliland Journalists Proclaimed
Hargeysa, Somaliland, May 17, 2008 (SL Times) – The National Union of Somaliland Journalists was proclaimed on Tuesday following a 2-day conference held in Hargeysa by over 40 Journalists.
The constituent assembly of the union has elected a 13-member board of directors to govern the new organization.
Abdillahi Mohamed Dahir (Ukuse) was elected as chairman of the board and Khader Mohamed Akule as vice-chairman. Mohamed Hussein Rambo will be the secretary-general of the union which is mandated to promote and defend the rights of Journalists and to seek improvement of their employment conditions as well as professional skills.
The conference debated a number of issues including the state of the freedom of the press in the country and how the local media has been handling the current political crisis in Somaliland.
The conference has called on the government to end its monopoly of radio broadcasting in the country and to start licensed private FM stations.
The participants said that they have noted with deep regret the administration’s reluctance to apply the country’s press law.
“We urge all the three branches of government to take all the necessary steps toward the implementation of press law number 24/2004 with regard to cases involving the media” a statement issued by the conference said.
The conference which was sponsored by the Somaliland Society for Independent Journalists & Writers (SSJW) declared that the best way in which the media can contribute to diffusing the current tension between the government and the opposition over who should run the country after the expiry of Riyale’s term in office on May 15, is to inform the public sufficiently and truthfully so that people are able to understand what is going on and may react accordingly.
Participants called on politicians to reach an agreement as soon as possible in order to pave the way for presidential and municipal elections.
Leaders of the National Union of Somaliland Journalists were asked to establish ties with similar unions in other countries as well as with international organizations for Journalists.
Besides the SSJW, there are two other Journalist associations in Somaliland. However the overwhelming majority of Somaliland Journalists have already indicated that they will also join the newly-founded national union as members.
The SSJW has been working with legislators to enhance media coverage of the Parliament and the introduction of appropriate media laws and policies.
The project is expected to be wrapped up next month.
Source: Somaliland Times