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NUSOJ holds workshop for Somali journalists on safety

By Tajuddin
In Local News
Sep 26th, 2014
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NUSOJ

Mogadishu ( DIPLOMAT.SO) – The National Union of Somali Journalists convened over 40 journalists on Safety and Conflict Reporting workshop between 23 – 25 September 2014 in Mogadishu’s Siyaad City Hotel in Mogadishu. The training attracted journalists from Mogadishu’s Benadir region, Middle Shabelle, Lower Shabelle, Bay and Lower Jubba and was supported by the United States Embassy in Nairobi, Somalia Unit.

The workshop, which covered important areas such as Personal Safety, Emergency planning, risk assessment, covering wars and conflicts through objective editorial, covering civil orders and demonstrations, basic First Aid, landmine awareness, Personal Conflict management and Panic Button – an android software developed by Amnesty International for Human Rights Defenders at risk followed by practical sessions, was aimed at providing the journalists with skills that enables them to quickly manage, when they come under imminent attack or threat and the best way to safely work in a hostile environment.

“I am glad to have the opportunity to participate this training and learned very critical points with regard to my safety in line with my daily routine work.” Ali Ilyas Abdullahi, reporter for Warsan Radio and Horncable TV correspondent based in the town of Baidoa who spoke on behalf of the trainees said, “I can not call this a simple training, but it is a lifesaving and asked for NUSOJ to train the journalists in the Bay region who direly need such trainings.”

Recalling back his experiences of reporting in conflict situations in the town of Baidoa in late March, when he filled a story about the formation of 3 member regional and later was attacked by an angry mob opposing to such formation.

“They beat me and tried to throw me into a fire, when police intervened to my rescue.” Ali Ilyas said, adding that “If I had had such training, I would not have fallen into such mess.”

The Secretary General of the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), Mohamed Ibrahim in his closing remarks thanked the generous support from the United States government toward the Somali journalists, while also thanking the participants for their patience for the three day long training and said that, “He was satisfied with the feedback and underlined the union’s commitment in the development Somali media..”

“The US support to the Somali journalists has been very instrumental for lifesaving and could safe those received this training into falling unnecessary risks both personally and professionally.” Mohamed Ibrahim, NUSOJ Secretary General said, “Over 40 journalists from more than 35 Media stations in Mogadishu, Jowhar, Afgoi, Baidoa and Kismayo benefited from this training while giving respect to the gender participation.”

The Somalia Minister of Information, Mustafa Duhulow who officially closed the training on Thursday afternoon and was honored to award certificates to the participants, commended the NUSOJ for their noble work they are doing for the Somali journalists and media and specifically coming up such trainings linked to the daily life cycle of the work of the journalists and urged more trainings be provided to the journalists wherever they are. The minister also thanked the US government’s support to the Somali Journalists.

“I acknowledge the conditions in which you are working and the importance of such training could mean to the journalists based on your experiences.” Minister Duhulow said, “As a minister and a member of parliament, you and your union have my full backing in development of the Somali media.”

The minister also reiterated his and his ministry’s dedication to the media freedoms and will however not accept any acts of oppression, which is not the government’s policy and will work closely with the journalists and media representatives.

At least 30 journalists and media workers have been killed in Somalia since 2011, making the country the most dangerous country in Africa to be a journalist. The training; Protection of Journalists: Safety and Conflict Sensitive Reporting comes amid Somalia is at the cross roads into transitioning federal states.

As part of the union’s commitment to promote high standards in media and journalism, NUSOJ strengthens the professional competence and ethical standards of both established journalists and new entrants, in order for them to be qualified journalists adhering to high professional standards. NUSOJ has organised and continue to arrange workshops, seminars, roundtables and debates on the profession with the ultimate aim of strengthening the freedom of opinion and the freedom of the press and thus improving the conditions for democratization, peace building, reconciliation and social and economic development in Somalia.

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