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Reject law silencing journalists, parliament told

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The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) is asking members of both houses of the Federal Parliament of Somalia not to taint their names by approving undemocratic and draconian media law.

Lower of House of the Federal Parliament is expected to officially receive tomorrow amendments of 2016 Media Law as part of package of bills from the government, and the media bill is the most controversial piece of legislation that the federal government so far takes to the parliament.

Secretary-General of NUSOJ Omar Faruk Osman said the bicameral parliament should not play into the hands of the Minister of Information Abdirahman Omar Osman by sanctioning a law he said is not in accordance with the provisional constitution of Somalia and international standards of freedom of expression, and was developed through collusion and cronyism.

“The decision by the Council of Ministers to endorse this media bill is retrogressive and depicts an establishment hell-bent on curtailing freedom of journalists to practice their chosen profession by rubberstamping such draconian law that will be exploited by the government and those allied with it to intimidate and harass the independent media in order to cover up for the ills in government,” said Osman.

NUSOJ urges the parliamentarians and senators not to taint their hands by approving a law that stands to take journalists and the nation as a whole to a painful era of forcible suppression and should instead use this golden opportunity to drastically amend the bill to ensure Somalia’s successful transition to democratic governance.

“We have appealed to members of both houses of the parliament to use this hindsight to rebuff the Bill in the interest of protecting the country from legislative tyranny and unprecedented curtailment of media freedom. As people’s representatives, members of the senate and lower house should show solidarity to the independent media fraternity,” added Osman.