The media in Somalia face tough challenges which undermine its independence and quality: threats, intimidation, weak access to information, security issues, lack of media laws to cite but a few. The media fraternity needs support to continue to exist and become increasingly professionalized around common standards.
In Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital city, the space for free and open dialogue is also limited. The newly opened Media Resource Center will bring together people who would not otherwise interact and will allow employed journalists and freelancers to develop their skills, and professionalize their craft. The Media Resource Center is expected to become a second newsroom for journalists, an essential training and conference center providing a professional and open environment for Somalia’s journalists.
The launch ceremony took place on the August 28. It brought together a group of media managers, union representatives, civil society representatives, international NGOs supporting media development and government officials, including Mohamed Ibrahim from the National Union for Somali Journalists, Network 2013, Hassan Ali Geesey from the Somalia Independent Media Houses Association (SIMHA) and Leyla Muuse Ibraahim from Somali Women Journalists Association.
Speaking during the launch, Internews Europe’s Somalia Project Director, Abdilatif Adan said, “It will act as a parallel newsroom offering informal mentoring and a standard of technical resources not available at journalists’ workplaces: internet, radio production studio, a resource library and digital recorders. It will also support the production and dissemination of conflict sensitive stories.”
The Chairman of the Somalia’s Independent Media Houses Association, Hassan Ali Gessey, commented: “We at SIMHA welcome the launch of this vital tool for journalists in Somalia. It is coming at a time when the media needs to be supported. We urge journalists in Somalia to make use of this very important asset.
Located in the Wadajiir District of Mogadishu, the Media Resource Center is a pivotal element of Internews Europe’s “Media for Peace” project that will support media professionals to develop their skills to produce quality media content related to peace and conflict.
The Center will host various activities including training workshops on governance and conflict sensitive reporting; media literacy training for civil society organisations; joint workshops for civil society and media; and monthly roundtable discussions and debates on Somalia Media Sector.