Prime Minister pledges wide consultation over telecommunications and media law and commits to a free press

Faarax February 9, 2013 0
Prime Minister pledges wide consultation over telecommunications and media law and commits to a free press



 

would be establishing the legal framework for a free press and properly
regulated telecommunications sector only after consulting widely to bring
in its Telecommunications and Media Law.

Speaking at the opening of a two-day consultation on Telecoms and Media Law
in Mogadishu, the Prime Minister began by commending the telecommunications
and media companies for starting their businesses and continuing to operate
during the exceptionally difficult circumstances brought on during the long
civil war.

Now that peace was returning, the Prime Minister called on them to
contribute to rebuilding the country. 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.

“This will generate revenue for the government and with those funds we will
be better able to provide necessary social services. We will be more free
to choose our own spending priorities.”

The law would be applied equally on all companies and the Prime Minister
said he expected them to respect that law and its obligations. The
legislation was being properly discussed with all stakeholders, he said,
and the government was listening carefully to all contributions.

“The government is determined that the telecommunications and media law
should be established only after wide consultation with – and input from -
all interested parties, including the telecommunications companies and all
media outlets as well as other relevant sectors.”

Article 19, the international campaigning organisation for press freedom,
has contributed to the debate over the proposed legislation with a report
offering a number of key recommendations. Other international specialists
have also been consulted during the process. The Prime Minister said the
government was determined to establish a free press in Somalia, which is
enshrined in the new constitution.

“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.”

His Excellency Abdullahi Elmoge Hersi, Minister of Information, Posts,
Telecoms and Transport called on the mobile phone operators to provide
connection between the networks. At present a mobile phone user using the
main service cannot call another user on the rival network.

“We have recently rejoined the International Telecommunication Union for
the first time since the civil war,” the minister said. “This brings with
it certain obligations – such as providing interconnectivity between the
mobile phone networks. We don’t have to force anyone to have two or three
phones.”

ENDS

 *Prime Minister’s Media Office*

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