MOGADISHU, Somalia—The International Media Support and Fojo Media Institute have organized a meeting that focused on how the Somali media can play a socially transformative role in the country.
In attendance were members of the Somali Media Association (SOMA), members from media houses, and members of social media teams, Member of Parliaments and civil society organizations.
The main participants included directors and members from the various media stations, NUSOJ, SOSCENSA, and the Faculty of Journalism of the Somali National University in the region.
The one day meeting aimed to grant a platform for discussing inspiring and fundamental roles that the Somali media plays in engaging citizens in the ongoing process of the country’s economic, social, cultural, religious and political developments.
During the meeting, the delegation highlighted and thanked the crucial role that Somali Women Journalists have contributed in breaking the perceived gender barriers within their communities and also the role they play in inspiring the younger generation of women.
In her welcome remarks, Manja Kamwi, Program Director, IMS/FOJO Media Program pointed out that the media has the potential role in building democracy and also sustaining it.
The meeting also applauded major organizations that have worked hard to ensure that Journalists or Media personal work in a safe and protected environment which has helped Journalist to dually produce quality, educative and professional content.
This content, they said, has helped the public to engage in the activities happening within their communities and the country at large.
The chairman of the Parliamentary Committee and Communication Khalid Maow Abdulkadir who officiated the meeting applauded FOJO for organizing the meeting, and highlighted that despite the changing roles of media in society, they are still many challenges that they face.
He said: “The main topics of the meeting are important, and the role of the media has changed, however, there are still some challenges the media is facing.”
“Also, news making requires accuracy, impartiality and social responsibility, otherwise conflicts could arise.”
Abdulkadir called on media houses and the government to team up because it is the media that helps to distribute information, its educative, entertaining, and creates community awareness.
He also urged participants to take advantage of the panel discussion and debates sessions to learn and gain more knowledge.
While speaking about their major achievements since partnering with FOJO, Media houses including SWJ, SOMA, MAP and SIMHA said that they included: the capacity of the media houses and journalists was improved, safety trainings were conducted and safety protocol manual produced to improve the safety and protection of the media houses and journalists., and effective media houses networking system has been established and promoted.
In their concluding remarks, media associations appreciated the support rendered by FOJO in promoting the capacity of the Somali media and journalists through the partnership.
The Secretary General of the Somali Media Association (SOMA) Mohamed Abduwahab, pointed out the achievements that they attained since the partnership which included: managing the Content Sharing program that interlinks all SOMA media houses, provided safety training to more than 100 media editors and reporters from different SOMA member media houses in Mogadishu, Baidoa, Adado, Kismayo and Galkacyo.
Abduwahab stated that while in cooperation with other media associations, SOMA has produced, signed and launched Safety protocol manual of 12 main principles and distributed them to all media members for protecting the safety of journalists and the media houses.
He added that SOMA has set out policy of self funding process by its members through membership registration fees. Not forgetting the current partnership with the Horn Connect Company that provides services related with awareness raising campaign for the constitution of Somalia throughout the SOMA member media stations operating across Somalia.