Mogadishu (Diplomat.so) - The Federation of Somali Journalists (FESOJ) has concluded a one-day meeting on mapping priority needs for Somali disabled journalists that was held on Thursday, August 25, 2022, at Sahafi Hotel in Mogadishu city, Somalia.
Members from the Somali Disable Journalists Union working for various media outlets in Mogadishu, Kismayo and Garowe were the main participants in the meeting, discussing the overall situation of the journalists with special and their priority needs.
The meeting was aimed to establish contact with the disabled journalists in Mogadishu and other regions, conduct mapping of all disabled journalists across Somalia and assess their specific significant needs.
"According to the United Nations, around 15 per cent of the world’s population, an estimated 1 billion people, live with disabilities; this figure is increasing through population growth, medical advances and the ageing process.” Mohamed Mohamud Adde, the Senior Media Trainer, has pointed out his opening remarks.
He added that there is a need for disabled persons, especially disabled journalists, to seek their due rights through organized unity.
"There is a need for promoting close cooperation between the Somali disabled journalists’ organizations and media organizations, both at the local and international level, to share information regarding the status and challenges experienced by the journalists with the special needs.”.” Farah Omar Nur, FESOJ Secretary-General, said in his introductory remarks.
In a brief statement, Abdalla Munim, Secretary General of the Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS), has advised the disabled journalists not to be discouraged by the challenges, which he indicated could be addressed through planning enhancement training in professional and self-discipline.
Furthermore, he added there is a need to make female journalists with special needs visible and be part of the capacity-building program opportunities.
Abdifatah Hassan (Kalgacal), visually impaired senior journalist working as a reporter with Radio Goobjoog, Chairman of the Somali Disable Journalists Association (SODJA), thanked FESOJ for conducting the meeting on mapping priority needs for the Somali disabled journalists and pointed out its significance for the journalists with the special needs.
During the meeting, the challenges the disabled journalists face was raised, including working in difficult and risky circumstance, people having a misconception about people with disabilities, many believing disabled persons could not do and learn anything, and there are no media stations specifically producing programs covering the situation of the disabled people except for very few radio stations that produce weekly programs on those issues and there is the need for identifying the priority needs for the disable journalists to improve their situation.
In addition, following the discussions, valuable recommendations were made, including providing training for the journalists with special needs to upgrade their professional skills, providing safety guidance to improve their behaviour in dealing with the security agencies, establishing a WhatsApp group to exchange information, identify their priority needs and locations, conduct media awareness raising to change the negative perception against disable persons, provide equal employment for the skilled disable journalists and establish special media outlet covering the issues relating to the journalists with the special needs.
In conclusion, Abdifatah Hassan (Galkacal), Chairman of SODJA, pointed out, "FESOJ has held the main and valued meeting for journalists with disabilities, and has been the best opportunity that other organizations have not held before.”
"We have agreed with FESOJ to cooperate, take advantage of their experience and be part of the training programs they offer.” He added.
Farah Omar Nur, FESOJ Secretary-General, thanked the disabled journalists in Mogadishu and the others in the regions online for participating in the meeting.