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Mogadishu – On the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, the United Nations envoy to Somalia today called for Somali journalists to be able to perform their work freely.

“The media have a vital role to play in Somali society, from coverage of its political space to giving a voice to the vulnerable and marginalized. They need to be able to carry out their important work free from violence, harassment, detention, persecution, intimidation and censorship,” said the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, James Swan. 

“This would be the case at any time, but especially in this period as Somalia prepares for its national ‘one person, one vote’ elections. This is an historic occasion that requires a dynamic, free and safe media sector able to report without fear or favour,” he added. “As the country responds to the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for the media to provide accurate and timely news coverage is also crucial for helping raise awareness which can save lives.”

World Press Freedom Day aims to celebrate and defend the fundamental principles of press freedom. It is observed annually on 3 May, and the theme of this year’s Day is “Journalism without Fear or Favour,” with the following sub-themes: safety of women and men journalists and media workers, independent and professional journalism free from political and commercial influence, and gender equality in all aspects of the media.

The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, of which Somalia is a signatory, establishes that freedom of expression is a fundamental human right.

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