Improving Media Standards in Somalia

November 11, 2014
Internews provides tailored workshops and training programs to help journalists better understand their role in times of conflict.

Journalists in Somalia continue to work under harsh conditions, often employed by media outlets that focus on conflict reporting despite their own lack of adequate training to report without putting their lives at risk.[1] The majority of radio journalists are young and were born and raised in Mogadishu during the civil war. They have not received a formal journalistic training; hence they are not fully aware of their role, of the impact of the stories they choose to tell or of the current media polarisation in the country.

Recently, eight journalists from different radio stations in Mogadishu attended a conflict sensitive journalism training event organised by Internews. The trained journalists came to the conclusion that being impartial is not an easy task, especially when a conflict takes place close to their home or when it involves someone they know.

"I learnt a lot about neutrality when reporting and not to decide for the listeners but give them facts. The practical exercises have enhanced my script writing and interviewing skills. This workshop has helped me gain so much in a short time”, said Ifrah Ali Farah from Aman Radio.

The trainees learnt how to interrogate their own role when it comes to practicing sound journalistic values and how to deal with their own bias and perceptions during conflict situations. The approach chosen by Internews requires that journalists go far beyond ‘skin-deep’ reporting of conflicts and pushes them towards a higher standard investigative journalism to properly unpack the real causes of conflict; in turn helping wider peace processes and reconciliation efforts.

Mandeeq Ahmed from Radio Codka Golbka Banadir observed, “trainees have become aware of their role, not only as storytellers, but as potential mediators by reporting stories in a balanced and fair way while also being careful and selective when choosing the language”.

Media for Peace project is made possible by funding from the European Commission.

[1] According to the Impunity Index 2014 published by the Committee to Protect Journalists, Somalia is the second country with the largest number of unsolved case of murdered journalists in the last 10 years.