The analyze requires a larger media function in Somalia’s measures in opposition to terrorism

Saturday, February 4, 2023


safety forces patrol in Mogadishu on solemn 20, 2022 after a terrorist assault. PHOTO | AFP

Somalia’s counter-terrorism insurance policies could stifle media reporting in opposition to violent extremism, says a analyze launched Thursday.

The report additional suggests areas to rope in additional constructive messages to tame the vice.

An examination of the Current Federal Authorities of Somalia’s Country wide Technique to obstruct and Opposed forcible Extremism, a 2016 policyconfirmed that even as the general public mostly helps the federal government in taming terrorist traffickers, a sizeable portion of the inhabitants could lag behind given that the media messages for them are both lacking or non-existent.

This can be given that the framing of the content material offered to the general public is both in a language that the neighborhood inhabitants doesn’t recognize or is just too generic or ambiguous, a specific thing that may drag down the federal government’s efforts to combat extremism.

“It is worth emphasizing that the content of the strategy and the way in which the content is presented are crucial for media analysis and interpretation.

“When information is either missing or presented in a way that is open to misinterpretation, there is a much greater risk of inaccuracies in media coverage and framing,” said the findings in a report titled A Critical Analysis of Somalia’s National Strategy On P/CVE : An media perspective.

The study, funded by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and commissioned by the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), sought to find the missing links between Somalia’s counter-terrorism efforts and media reporting on it.

The research and analysis was carried out by Dr James Oranga, from the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Nairobi in Kenya.

In most cases, the findings show that the government itself had turned into a tormentor of journalists, imprisoning or threatening them in their work. This is in addition to the usual threats journalists in Somalia face, such as being targeted by al-Shabaab militants.

The existing counter-terrorism strategy may soon be reviewed after President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud vowed to tighten loopholes that have made it easier for al-Shabaab to thrive, including infiltrating institutions. But one gap that can be addressed, the study says, is how the strategy is communicated to the public.

– The strategy ends by acknowledging that all efforts to counter radicalization and violent extremism are actualized or in some way facilitated by communication.

“Furthermore, extremist groups rely on the publicity provided by the media and therefore any effective counterbalance to extremist rhetoric or propaganda must be media-based,” it says.

Somalia’s strategy identifies the causes of violent extremism as poverty, feelings of marginalization, illiteracy and lack of economic opportunity.

In recent efforts to tame al-Shabaab, Somalia’s federal government banned the media from reporting on Shabaab stories, encouraged village vigilantes to fight alongside the Somali National Army, and called on banks and telecommunications companies to freeze money transfer accounts linked to al-Shabaab. .

The strategy, the study says, should go further and specify how some of the causes of marginalization, illiteracy or poverty, for example, can be addressed and proper messaging through the media.

“The answers to such questions would provide greater insight into the underlying drivers of radicalization and violent extremism, thereby enabling stakeholders to develop holistic solutions, including those recommended by the media in its role as the watchdog of democracy.”

Also read: Somali president urges people to flush out al-Shabaab ‘bedbugs’

While the strategy breaks down the specified groups deemed vulnerable to violent extremism, the gap is that the media have not been involved or trained to interpret it for the public.

The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) says the findings could help policymakers work well with the media to combat violent extremism because it is journalists who can be better believed to de-radicalize and can “act as a counterweight to the narratives peddled by extremist groups,” said a statement issued by NUSOJ on Friday.

“Therefore, any strategy, especially one developed by the government, should not fail to prioritize the role of the media in P/CVE (preventing and countering violent extremism),” mentioned Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary Typical.

“Serious consideration should be given to the media’s active involvement in the drafting and design of such a strategy as journalists are in a unique position to ensure that communication priorities are firmly embedded in media practice,” he added in a assertion.

The analyze additionally recommends that the construction and content material of the brand new technique needs to be tailored to Create it extra accessible to stakeholders who could covet to make use of it as some extent of reference.

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