IFJ Calls on Islamic Courts to Respect Press Freedom in Somalia

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today called on Somalia’s Islamic Courts Council (ICC) to protect press freedom after the council presented its information policy during a meeting with the local media.

At the meeting on 8 October in Mogadishu, the ICC unveiled its thirteen-point policy, which included the stipulation that media should not disseminate anything that can create confrontations between the people and the ICC. They also said that journalists should reveal the sources of information they quote and not attend seminars of foreign organisations without the council’s “formal permission.”

“This troubling policy shows that the ICC wants to control the media,” said Gabriel Baglo, Director of IFJ Africa office. “However, we welcome the fact that the ICC is open to discussions with the media and we call them to protect press freedom.”

The IFJ is recommending the creation of a media commission formed with representatives of the local media and press freedom organisations. This commission will work on a media code of conduct that will guarantee press freedom and ethics.

The media commission will also identify local trainers and organise training sessions to reinforce the capacities of Somali journalists and media workers.

“We strongly believe that if the Islamic Courts work hand in hand with the Somali journalists and media organisations, it will create an environment that is conducive to the peace process in the country,” Baglo said.

For further information contact the IFJ: +221 842 01 43

The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 110 countries