Somaliland Journalists Association
Head Office: Ex-UNICEF Office,
Shacab Area, I. Koodbuur District.
Tel: +252 2 572604/+252 634012657/+252 63 4412114
Somaliland Journalist Association (SOLJA) is national independent, non-governmental, non political and nonprofit making organization based in Hargeisa Somaliland. It was established on Feb 2003 to defend and promote the rights and freedoms of the media, and generally, to help expand the boundaries of freedom of speech and expression in Somaliland, and to empower member journalists and ensure high standards of journalism/reportage in Somaliland. It’s legally registered with the Ministry of Information of Somaliland as “Somaliland Journalists Association” with the mandate to build up and foster the knowledge and skills of the journalists to make information on education, developmental activities and entertainment access to the public; and to defend and advocate the rights of the journalists.
SOLJA representing more than 38 media houses consists Radio stations, TV stations, Printed media and online outlets and 800 professionals’ individual journalist members from all media houses in Somaliland. SOLJA has offices in all regions as well as representatives in Horn of Africa. The association has an adequate financial sound system (Quick book) and comprehensive procurement procedures
The association will carry out its activities throughout all the regions of Somaliland in partnership with NGOs, UN & International organizations, and the local journalists by promoting the serial needs of the target groups through build media institutional capacity. Its forge links and network of co-operation & excellent relationship, information sharing, Transparency & accountability with the community, government, LNGOs, UN & international Organizations as well as donors of the international community so that its goals are accomplished.
Member journalists work across the whole industry as reporters, editors and sub-editors and photographers. Members work in broadcasting, newspapers, magazines, and in the new media (news websites). We are professionals who are proud of the work that we do. Our members come from many different families and backgrounds, with widely different regions. SOLJA oversees initiatives to ensure that the press’ essential role in society is understood and respected.
- OUR VISION
Media realizes its capacity in executing its activities within its ethical norms hence exercise freedom of expression in a fearless atmosphere. The vision of SOLJA is a Somaliland in which all media and all persons can and will express themselves freely with absolutely no fear or threat of interference, reprisal or violation by any force.
- OUR MISSION
The SOLJA Initiative works towards the establishment of a free and professional media in Somaliland. The goals of those who seek reform and peace in Somaliland, regardless of their political stance, want a healthy and active civil society, freedom of thought and expression, tolerance of different perspectives, fair elections, and transparent and fair governance. Good media can help create this change.
- ORGANIZATION’S MAIN OBJECTIVES:
- Establish and operate journalists’ all six regions in Somaliland
- Establish and operate facilities aiming at delivering social services to journalists’ (Media Information Bureaus).
- Provide technical assistance, design projects and program, advice, from the purpose of promoting journalists’ welfare.
- Networking and building coalition with like-minded organizations.
- Provide training opportunities to Somaliland journalists
- Publish material related to the development and promotion of public rights.
- Facilitate the provision of equipments and training materials to journalists’ schools in the country
- Equip journalists with the means of challenging and overcoming the constraints of outdated customs belief, economic and other social domination.
- SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES:
- Establish SOLJA perates journalists’ welfare Information centers in Hargeisa and in the Regions, and create openings and conditions for journalist to improve their skills and living conditions in the society.
- Establish and operate facilities aiming at various Training levels of journalism and Mass Communication including delivering social services to journalists’.
- To provide short and long term courses in Mass Communication and Investigative Journalism to curb or minimize the rampant corruption prevailing in Somaliland Government offices. Aim to establish good governance Government in Somaliland, which at incumbent most public complain about it
- Prepare debate, radio and T.V, programs on the issues related to public development in order to encourage critical thinking from the society and the academic community.
- Provide technical assistance, design projects and programs, with the purpose of promoting journalists’ to get the skills so that they impart it to the society in the rural and urban areas to strengthen democracy, Pluralism, Diversity and accuracy.
- Network and build coalitions with other likeminded organizations in conducting campaigns and build awareness on Media Freedom, Civic Education, Corruption, public rights issues, advocate for Information Media Bill 2007 and Media Services Bill 2007 addressing media problems to be sent to parliament for endorsement.
- Publish SOLJA news paper, Magazine; brochures and other materials related to the development and promotion of journalists’ and general rural publics rights to access information from the government.
- To establish Journalist Education Trust Fund, aimed at supporting and sponsoring talented writers identified in primary, Secondary and University level in order to strengthen the Somaliland Media Industry which is at incumbent operating unprofessionally.
- Create an environment where journalists demand information and knowledge, exercise their rights and feel self confident about the capability of their fellow journalists.
- THE SOLJA IS GUIDED BY THE FOLLOWING VALUES:
- Our interest and actions in promoting media rights and other rights of free expression are inspired by the principles of equality, liberty and social justice irrespective of belief, race, ethnicity, or sex.
- We are independent, non-partisan and non-sectarian.
- We desire to attain excellence and professionalism in our work
- A commitment to accountability, transparency and good stewardship.
- A commitment to teamwork, collaboration, cooperation, partnership and solidarity.
- SOLJA monitors and conducts investigations into violations of press freedom and human rights of journalists
- WHAT WE DO: WE IMPROVE OUR MEMBERS
- Professionalism- We work with highly visible, self-trained citizen journalists. We aim to assist them in reaching international standards through interactive workshops.
- Credibility- It is difficult to build trust as a media outlet in Somaliland due to the polarization of society. We help journalists increase their credibility so they become more visible in Somaliland and the international media. We often put our trainees in touch with major broadcasters to ensure their good journalism reaches a wide audience.
- Social Impact- Media has the capability to build peace, but it also has the potential to harm. We help Somaliland journalists ensure that their material does not unintentionally cause divisions in society.
- Safety- We provide technical and physical security training to ensure that journalists operate as safely as possible in extremely difficult conditions.
- Sustainability – The purpose of our initiative is long-term. We build the capacity of media outlets so they can operate independently and effectively in the future and play an active and positive role in Somaliland society.
- OUR GENERAL PRINCIPLES
- The right to information, freedom of expression and criticism is one of the basic rights of every human being regardless of gender, race, nationality, religion and political belief.
- The right of the public to be informed on facts and opinions generates rights and responsibility of journalists.
- In their work, journalists are obliged to defend human rights, dignity and freedom, respect pluralism of ideas and views, contribute to strengthening of the legal state and as democratic part of publicity participate in controlling the performance of government and politics.
- Journalists shall abide by the Constitution and the positive laws of the Somaliland Republic, the Statute and Acts of the International Journalist Federation (IFJ) as well as the acts of the Global on freedom of expression, informing and human rights.
- Journalists nurture culture and ethics of public statement, respect the accomplishments and values of advanced civilization.
- All members of the Somaliland Journalist Association (SOLJA) are obliged to abide by the highest professional and ethical principles.
- PROGRAMME COMPONENTS/THEMATIC AREAS
To effectively pursue the SOLJA’s objectives and deliver the desired outcomes, SOLJA’s programme of work is divided into four broad thematic areas or components which will constitute its main programme departments as follows:
- MEDIA LAW POLICY REFORM AND LEGAL DEFENSE
Set up in year 2012, the Network comprises legal experts from across the sub-region to primarily provide legal support for Journalists/Media in their legal defense against criminal prosecution.
SOLJA with support from its partners has through this network made several interventions in a number of cases with significant national impact and implications. As a result too, demands for SOLJA’s intervention are growing, and important challenges to the programme’s implementation are also emerging.
- MEDIA, DEMOCRACY AND DEVELOPMENT
- Media and Elections
- Capacity building of the media and Civil Society Organizations for democratization
- Media for Peace-building and Conflict Transformation
- Media for Social Cohesion and Development
- Media, Gender and Development
- FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION RIGHTS MONITORING, PROTECTION AND CAMPAIGNS
- Human Rights Monitoring and Alerts
- Safe Haven
- Campaigns Against Violations and Impunity
- COMMUNICATION, RESEARCH AND PUBLICATIONS
- Public Communication. i.e. marketing SOLJA
- Publications and Distributions
- Communicating Research Findings to Inform Policy.
Across Somaliland, the SOLJA brings together individual freelancers journalists as well as media houses through their membership of the national sections. Membership of SOLJA is open to individual journalists and mass media organizations working or established, Currently SOLJA has active members of 28 media houses from Radio stations, TV stations, Printed media and online outlets and 283 professionals’ individual journalist. Membership has criteria as well as process and procedure during SOLJA’s membership intake SOLJA’s membership applications made on the prescribed forms to the executive committee whose decision regarding eligibility shall be the final. SOLJA runs from membership fees or annual subscriptions.
- GOVERNANCE AND ADMINISTRATION
SOLJA was founded and is governed by our member journalists. We are a democratic association, and our strength comes from the involvement and engagement of all our members. It is possible for all members to influence policy.
The Association’s policy, objectives and priorities are decided at the General Assembly, which meets once in every three years. Six Branches of the association are entitled to send delegates to the General Assembly in proportion to the size of their membership. Policies and programs developed by the elected members are implemented and administered by the National
SOLJA is governed by a Supreme Council, responsible for the general policies between General Assemblies, and an Executive Committee, in charge for the administration of the Association. The diversity of the association’s membership also is one of its strengths. SOLJA is pitilessly opposed to discrimination and prejudice, on grounds of gender, tribe/clan, age or disability, not least because it divides rather than unites.
- GENERAL ASSEMBLY
SOLJA has general assembly that all the members meet and held at once in every three years, also the Association has effective governing “Board of Director” of Fifteen (15) members, the assembly are the supreme organ of authority in the association which approved the constitution of the association and has power the election of the BOD as per the constitution. It takes all decisions related to the policy of SOLJA and deals with regulatory issues. It elects the Board of Directors, the chairman and the vice chairman and secretary general.
The Fifth Somaliland Journalists Association (SOLJA) Annual General Meeting (AGM) saw the election of new office bearers who would run the largest media society for the next three years. he one day annual general meeting (AGM) held at Ambassador Hotel on the 31st Dec 2017 saw the attendance of 96 members drawn from local assorted media outlets with 10 other attendants from line stake holders e.g. the Academy of Peace, SONSAF, Free Press and associated CBOs..
Most of these sentiments focused on the need of upholding etiquette, righteousness, freedom of expression and, amongst others the inherent need for imperative free and fair election.
The AGM adopted new articles in their regulations with several amendments having been done. During general assembly meeting an international award winning veteran journalist and Waaheen Media Group editor was elected Mr. Mohamoud Abdi Jama- chairman, Yahye Sheekh Isma’il- Deputy chairman and Sakarie Ahmed Muhumed as a new secretary general along fifteen new officials of the board of directors. It is important to note that this year’s AGM created the office of an executive officer, something that was not there before.
- MEMBERS OF THE EXECUTIVE BOARD 2017-2020
The Board of Directors is the legislative organ of SOLJA. Board members are elected by the members of the General Assembly. The Board of Directors provides financial oversight and maintains accountability. It also determines SOLJA’s mission and purpose and ensures effective organizational planning. The board of directors of its powers usually occurs in board meetings. SOLJA’s legal systems require sufficient notice to be given to all directors of these meetings, and that a quorum must be present before any business may be.
At the 2017 SOLJA General Assembly in Hargeisa, the following officers were elected and appointed for a 3 years term:
||Sakariye Ahmed Muhumed||Chairpersonfirstname.lastname@example.org||Radio Hargeisa|
||Abdilaahi Hussein Darwiish||Vice -Chairpersonemail@example.com||Freelancer|
||Mahamed Ahmed Kuraase||General
||Muna Mohamoud Abdi||Memberfirstname.lastname@example.org||Radio Hargeisa|
||Rahma Abdillahi Maygag||Memberemail@example.com||Radio Hargeisa|
||Hamze Ali Bulul||Memberfirstname.lastname@example.org||Freelancer|
||Abdiqadir Hussein Nur||Memberemail@example.com||Reporter|
||Ridwam Aided Ismail||Memberfirstname.lastname@example.org||Report|
||Muna Ibrahim Dhakhtar||Memberemail@example.com||Producer|
||Arrale Mohamoud Jama||Memberfirstname.lastname@example.org||Editor|
||Abdifataax ismail Mursal||Memberemail@example.com||E.D.|
||Ibrahim Farah Macaaniye||Memberfirstname.lastname@example.org||Reporter|
||Mohamed Farax Coomaade||Memberemail@example.com||SBC Tv|
||Abdi Hassan Abdi||Memberfirstname.lastname@example.org||Bulsho Tv|
||Faysal Mohamed Fifa||Memberemail@example.com||SomaliCable Tv|
- BOARD COMMITTEES
The Board of director is the leading body of the association between two sessions and they review and approves association plans, identify needs, and link planning to budget, approves implementations of the operational manuals, associational policies and procedures, internal control system, designs and develops the strategic plans/directions of the Bar; and amends where deem necessary
The Board of Directors is divided into five sub-committees who are responsible for:
- Finance and Audit
- Lobbying and Advocacy
- Social Services Development Committee
- Peace building and Conflict Resolution Committee
- Capacity Building and Development Committee
- THE SECRETARIAT
The Secretariat consists of the staffs that are responsible for the day to day running of SOLJA. It is headed by an Executive Director who is appointed by the Board of Directors.
- Affiliated / Member
The Somaliland Journalist Association is an active member
- ARTICLE 19
- International Media Support
- Doha Centre for Media Freedom
- Free Press Unlimited
- Media Legal Defence Initiative
- Press Emblem Campaign
- World Press Freedom Committee
- Centre for Freedom of the Media
- Somaliland Non State Actors Forum. SONSAF
- National Endowment for Democracy (NED)
- CARE International
- Caritas Switzerland /Luxembourg