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Somalia PM says govt committed to press freedom

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Somalia Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon. PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

The Somali Government is planning to establish the legal framework for a free press and properly regulated telecommunications sector, an official has said.

This comes as international outcry grows over harassment of journalists in the restive country.

Speaking on Saturday during a consultation meeting on Telecoms and Media Law in the capital Mogadishu, Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon said the government is keen to establish a legal framework for a free press.

“My government is very much committed to seeing a free media. The media also has its social responsibilities. Anyone who harms a journalist harms our society. Modern society cannot live without a free press,” he said.

He commended telecommunications and media companies for maintaining their operations in the country amid chaos.

“The new telecommunications legislation would bring fresh obligations upon the telecoms companies, especially the legal duty to pay taxes for the first time in more than 20 years,” he added.

Mr Shirdon was appointed as Prime Minister in October last year to lead the first post-transitional government in Somalia after two decades of bitter civil conflict and eight years of successive transition.

The country’s Minister of Information, Telecoms and Transport Abdullahi Elmoge Hersi on his part said all stakeholders have been involved in the discussion adding that Somalia has since joined the International Telecommunication Union.

“We have recently rejoined the International Telecommunication Union for the first time since the civil strife,” he said.


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