By Goth Mohamed Goth
The Academy for Peace and Development held a Workshop in Media reporting on the electoral processes and an assessment on media code of conduct.
The workshop was attended by all forty heads of local media outlets. The one-day workshop was held at Guleid Hotel and facilitated by a distinguished senior member of the media sector, Mr. Hussein Ali Nuur.
The chairman of Somaliland Journalist Association”SOLJA” Mr. Mahmoud Abdi Jama “Xuuto”, during the opening of the workshop said, “Without involving the media in the electoral process through awareness, the general public will be at risk in not obtaining the essential knowledge of how to cast a vote, but also about a participatory process where voters have adequate information about parties, policies, candidates and the election process itself in order to make informed choices.”
“By acknowledging the role of the Somaliland media as a public educator, we can overcome current challenges the facing the upcoming voter’s registration process through negotiation with NEC and NGOs for broadcast of educational material to voters with the aim of educating them on the process”, he also added.
The Executive Director of The Academy for Peace and Development, Mohamed Farah Hersi, stated during the opening of the workshop, “This Media reporting on electoral process is part of the activities in which APD contributes to the electoral processes, so as to pave way for holding free and fair elections in Somaliland.”
The objective of the workshop was meant for media personnel to recognize citizen’s rights with adequate and balanced information. To also providing technical and institutional support for the media personnel for safeguarding the public interest. Promote equal treatment of political parties and candidates by all media houses; regardless of their actual political power. To assist and equip journalists with the basic professional skills that enable them to cover election processes in a fair, balanced and a non-partisan way. To help media enable citizens to get the opportunity to become well-informed, interested and active participants in the country’s political decision processes.
Some of the main points achieved during the open discussion were the responsibilities of the media outlets on how election coverage is released. The importance of the media sectors in engaging with the general public with informed accurate and fair coverage of the elections in its entirety.
The group’s activities began at the end of each section allowing the forty heads of their media sectors to split up into four groups. Two groups focused on creating their own Code of Conduct, while the other two groups focused on the media’s role in the 2010 Presidential elections. Once the groups presented their findings they explained the challenges, consequences of irresponsible journalism, and agreed upon the code of conduct, in front of the members from the other three groups.
In conclusion, the members of the media expressed their gratitude for the Academy for Peace and Development for conducting such an important workshop prior to the elections in order to make sure that future elections are covered fair and equally.