Journalists in five regions of Somalia benefit from Canada-backed media freedom and security training

MOGADISHU (AXADLE) Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) has completed the fourth round of a series of trainings to improve the safety and security of Somali journalists and media freedom with support from the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI) in Baidoa, South West Somalia.

The training program, which ran from July 2021 to February 2022, has benefited more than 90 local journalists in five regions of Somalia: Banadir, Hirshabelle, Puntland, Galmudug and South West State. Almost 40% of the participants were female journalists in the five regions.

Baidoa-based journalists, who completed the training on Wednesday, described how they worked in dangerous conditions, with little or no safety training available to them.

“I have worked in the media for more than seven years. I have never received security training. As a female reporter, I used to go to the radio station every morning worried about my and my colleagues’ safety. Now that I have received this training, I am less worried because I have security skills that can help me, ”said Mariya Moalim, who works for Radio Warsan, the oldest radio station in Baidoa and one of the independent stations targeted by government forces and militants in recent years.

Addressing the participants on the closing day, Omar Mustafa Nur, one of the directors of the Ministry of Information of the Southwestern State, acknowledged that the training was timely as the country undertakes the election of parliamentary seats, a process that has threatened the safety of many local journalists. .

“Baidoa has been one of the deadliest places for journalists after Mogadishu and Galkayo. Today, many of the practicing journalists and their editorial staff lack the resources to commit security training,” said Mr Omar himself, a former TV journalist. “We commend SJS for creating and implementing the Security Training Initiative for Local Journalists. I believe that security training can improve the security situation of journalists working in the southwestern state of Somalia.”

The president of the Somali Media Association (SOMA), which is the largest independent media employer network, Hilal Sheikh Shueyb, noted that security remains a major concern for journalists working for local media houses and it had negatively affected the freedom of the media they work for. for and the quality of their reporting.

“I am pleased that security training has taken place in Baidoa. For a long time, our journalists have been concerned about the safety of their lives, which has seriously affected media freedom. We suggest that this training be extended to journalists living in rural areas. who are not able to travel to cities to get training opportunities, ”he added.

SJS Press Freedom Coordinator in the Southwest, Adan Hassan Osman, stressed that the growing number of journalists and the pressure they face from their daily duties has increased local journalists’ need for security training.

“As attacks on journalists increase, so does the need for training. We need to think about how to get regular and focused professional security training,” Adam said. “Security challenges and constant threats to journalists also force us to develop strategies for security measures against journalists threatened. “

SJS Secretary General Abdalle Ahmed Mumin praised South West journalists for their commitment to using the training. He also expressed gratitude to the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI) for its assistance with the training activities.

“Somali journalists, including women journalists, are facing increasing physical and digital threats. However, there are few training opportunities available to them. With this in mind, we have launched these security trainings,” said SJS Secretary General Abdalle Mumin. “Attacks on media workers and intimidation, including threats from police and security forces, have left Somali journalists living in constant fear of their personal security and digital devices.”

“These trainings will empower journalists and enable them to operate in high-risk environments and in challenging conditions. Thanks to the funding we have received from the Government of Canada’s CFLI, we have been able to train more than 90 Somali journalists in five regions. in the country, ”Mr Moomin added.

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