Today, the European Union and its Member States have marked the International Human Rights Day with a special focus on freedom of expression and the need to end the targeted killings and attacks on journalists in Somalia.
Human rights have always been the silver thread that runs through the EU’s external action. It has guided us in today’s event and it is the reason why the EU has received, today in Oslo, the Peace Nobel Prize.
Together with the Somali media sector, media stakeholders and federal authorities, the EU and its partners have organized, for the first time in Mogadishu, a round table to discuss the causes and the solutions to these problems, with Somalia continuing to remain one of the most dangerous countries for journalists to operate in. This year alone 18 media workers have been killed in Somalia.
The participants of this round table have discussed a wide range of related topics linked to the safety of journalists, the fight against impunity, the professional and ethical standards of media workers and media regulation. A lot of suggestions have been made to address these challenges. Amongst these, the need has been underscored to align the 2007 media law with the Provisional Constitution and to further develop the professional code of ethics of the media sector whilst creating conditions for journalists to gain an income for the work they deliver.
As a result, we stand ready to support the Somali media sector as well as the Somali authorities to further discuss the main outcomes which have been suggested and to further identify the type of donor support this important sector would need.
We also stand ready to support the Government with respect to President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s recent pledge to tackle impunity and to create a Task Force to investigate the killings of journalists.