5 November 2014
The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) joined 17 journalist trade unions from the Arab World and the Middle East who agreed a number of recommendations to help improve journalism in the region and support for a regional body to protect media freedom.
At a Regional Meeting for the Arab World & Middle East of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) which was held in Casablanca, Morocco, from 28-30 October, the theme of the meeting was ‘Beyond the Arab Spring – A New Road Map for Journalists‘ and NUSOJ Secretary General Omar Faruk Osman delivered a country report on the state of journalism in Somalia and the challenges being faced by Somali journalists, media houses and their union.
The meeting noted the tragic death of more than 150 journalists in the region over the last three years and the disappearance, kidnapping and arrest of many other journalists, demanding their immediate release, including Somali journalists.
NUSOJ and its sister unions of journalists agreed to strengthen union work on the issue of journalist safety and fighting impunity, especially in countries witnessing wars and conflicts like Somalia.
The conference underlined “the necessity for media law reforms including the right to access to information and protection of sources, the abolition of prison sentences and setting of limits for fines for press offences, the abolition of all legal provisions that criminalize press offenses and hinder journalistic work.”
Regarding trade union campaigning, Arab journalist leaders agreed to strengthen their trade union work in the key areas of collective bargaining and recruitment of freelance journalists.
In a very historic discussion, journalist trade unions adopted a special resolution on the need to campaign to unionise journalists who work for major pan-Arab satellite TV stations in the region, in particular Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya, MBC and Sky News Arabia.
Journalist leaders from Arab world were in favour of establishing an office of ‘Special Rapporteur for Media Freedom’ in the Arab world. The representatives recommended that a consultation process should be launched with national, independent human rights commissions in the region and involving relevant international bodies.
View the full list of recommendations from the meeting HERE.