The Fourth Estate in Somalia today joins its counterparts world over in making the World Press Freedom Day at a time the media environment in Somalia still remains risky and unpredictable for journalists and media workers in general.
Somalia ranks among the most dangerous places for journalists to operate in with many having been maimed and quite a number-62 since 1992 have paid the ultimate price for their dedication to the truth and cause for a just and open society.
This year alone, a number of journalists have survived car bomb attacks with varying degrees of injuries while others are serving jail terms as some remain in police cells without prosecution.
The blade is sharp on both sides for journalists in this country; armed groups have aimed to kill and maim journalists while state entities indiscriminately seek to silence journalists through intimidations, arbitrary arrests, closure of premises and withdrawal of broadcast licenses.
All these acts of suppression are detrimental not only to the welfare of journalists but also the greater cause for a democratic, stable and prosperous Somalia.
President Mohamed Farmaajo’s administration has pledged to champion a better working environment for journalists. This is a welcome note but must be matched with action. A review of the 20015 Media Act is one critical area the new administration must seek to start with since a number of the articles in the law are punitive and counter-productive to progressive growth of the media in Somalia.
The State must act decisively to end all acts of suppression of journalists and state organs must desist from arbitrary application of the law to deny journalists their right to work and express themselves within the confines of the Constitution.
A free and responsible media is for the good of all Somalis.