UN welcomes changes to Somalia media law

Head of UNSOM Michael Keating

The United Nations top envoy to Somalia has welcomed the recent introduction of a legislation that seeks to amend the 2016 media law, urging lawmakers to give due consideration to the concerns raised by prominent members of Somalia’s media outlets about the existing law and the proposed amendments.

President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed’s cabinet approved a package of amendments to the media law in July, fulfilling a commitment he made to Somalia’s media associations after taking office, according to a statement by the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM).

“A free and independent news media is essential for accountability and democracy,” said the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia and head of UNSOM, Michael Keating.

“I hope the outcome of such a legislative process will promote a better environment for Somali journalists to practice their profession without fear.”

The proposed amendments will now be taken up by the Federal Parliament in the coming weeks.

The UN earlier this year hailed the country’s achievements, particularly those made in the media environment and anti-terrorism campaign.

The country has been dogged by a near-decade conflict waged by Islamist militant group al-Shabaab. The war affected every aspect of the country, making it’s governance an uphill task.

A regional force was however put in place to tackle the militancy, successfully pushing the fighters back. They group now occupies little hide-outs from where it still manages to launch attacks in the country.