Allow independent journalists to have uncensored access to the presidential election scheduled for May 15

MOGADISHU (AXADLE) Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) and Somali Media Association (SOMA) express great concern over the announcement by the Parliamentary Committee on Presidential Elections on Monday 9 May, which places restrictions on the access of independent journalists to the presidential elections. elections scheduled for May 15, 2022.

A note issued by the parliamentary committee on presidential elections instructed all independent journalists to stay away from the venue where the vote takes place, suggesting that journalists “will follow the process from TV screens installed outside the hall”.

SJS and SOMA protest against this decision and both call on the President of the Federal Parliament to withdraw this restrictive decision and give all journalists full access to the polling station. We also condemn the restrictions and threats made by Haramcad police against journalists covering the recent election of the chairman of the House of Commons in Mogadishu’s Hangar site.

We call on international partners to call on Parliament’s officials to give journalists and media staff full access to this important event. Police officers guarding the venue should have a clear instruction giving journalists access to the venue, including the hall where lawmakers are to cast their vote.

Journalists play an important role in keeping citizens informed about the current election process and raising awareness of various issues, including candidates and the transparency of voting. Media acts as a mechanism for the prevention and investigation of allegations of violations or malpractice during the election. Any restrictive measures against journalists and their media houses will only weaken the credibility of the already disgraced electoral process in Somalia.

“We strongly protest against this unacceptable decision by the parliamentary committee on presidential elections against journalists. We have already reached out to them and we hope that they will withdraw this restrictive decision,” said Abdalle Ahmed Mumin, secretary general of the Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS). ) said “We also call on international partners – in particular the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia – to call on the authorities to allow independent media access to the polling station without any restrictions or harassment.”

“As Somalia now concludes the delayed electoral process, which is marked by many serious allegations of malpractice, it is again worrying that Parliament is refusing to allow the media access to the polling station on May 15. We ask all concerned officials to act quickly and withdraw this draconian decision back, ”said Mohamed Osman Makaran, general secretary of the Somali Media Association (SOMA).

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