With this Press Statement, the Somali Media Association (SOMA) would like to share its best compliments with all the media stakeholders observing the international day – February 13, as the World Radio Day 2020. SOMA is also pleased with the fact the World Radio event coincides with the 7th anniversary when the Somali Media Association was established as Network – 13 in Kampala on February 13, 2013.
The main topic of the World Radio Day 2020 adopted by UNESCO is the theme on Radio and Diversity based on three sub-themes: Diversity in Representation, New and emerging technologies for Diversity and Policy Environment for Diversity.
The main theme of the World Radio Day 2020, which is UNESCO calls on radio stations to uphold diversity, both in their newsroom and on the airwaves.
In respect with the World Radio Day 2020, SOMA media houses and journalists are committed to continue maintaining diverse radio programs specifically focusing on the vulnerable people in the community such as women, children, the people with special needs and discriminated minority groups.
The world radio event was proclaimed in 2011 by the Member States of UNESCO, and adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2012 as an International Day; February 13 became World Radio Day.
In signifying the double events of the World Radio Day 2020, and the 7th anniversary of SOMA establishment, the Somali Media Association (SOMA) would like to present and share its achievements over the past seven years.
SOMA is an independent, non- profit and non-political media organization established by a group of media managers in Somalia. The association has been established as Network 2013 in Kampala on 13 February 2013 by 13 radio stations across Somalia by signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and development of a Constitution.
However, during its General Assembly held in May 2016, the name of Network 2013 has been changed to the Somali Media Association (SOMA).
The Somali Media Association (SOMA) comprising of more than 36 media houses are interlinked and networking through established structured system of General Assembly with every three years meeting that shares information on achievements, challenges and approving the strategic planning.
The SOMA media houses members are operational across Somalia including Baidoa, Beletweyne, Adado, Abudwaq, Dhuusamareeb, Guri’el, Galkacyo, Jowhar, Bal’ad, Kismayo, Bardhere, Dolow, Bosaso, Garowe and Mogadishu.
The key objectives of the association include promoting the principles of a free independent and professional Somali media dedicated to advancing peace, reconciliation and democratic values. In particular, SOMA is intending to strengthen the capacity of radio stations as public service providers for the Somali community, thereby contributing to peace, reconciliation and development.
In the past seven years, the Somali Media Association has successfully conducted General Assembly Meeting held every three years for its members of media owners and managers from Mogadishu and the regions including Abudwaq, Adado, Dolow, Bardhere, Doolow, Baidoa, Afgoye, Kismayo, Guriel, Dhuusamareeb, Galkacyo, Bosaso, Garowe , Beleteweyne , Jowhar and Balad and Nairobi,Kenya. The GA meeting discusses the SOMA achievements, the challenges, approves key decisions and makes plan of action for future development. The association has also Executive Committee member that meets annually to manage and implement main activities.
During the last SOMA General Assembly meeting held in Mogadishu on Augusts 2018, the SOMA members has signed and launched the 12 Principles of the Safety Protocol document and approved the SOMA new constitution and regulation.
The Somali Media Association (SOMA) is managing Content Sharing Program since September 2016 and has produced and transmitted more than 120 Episodes focusing on various social issues on weekly throughout all the SOMA member radio media houses across Somalia.
The SOMA association has procured and distributed digital voice recorders MP3 to SOMA member media stations and journalists across Somalia. The radio communication equipment was intended to assist the journalists prepare improved radio programs to be shared and transmitted throughout all SOMA member media houses across Somalia.
The Somali Media Association (SOMA) has provided Safety Training Program to more than 133 media editors and reporters from media houses and other journalists of the media in Mogadishu, Baidoa, Adado, Kismayo , Galkacyo and Jowhar were provided with the chance of attending in training workshops on safety protocol. As a result, the Somali journalists’ knowledge and awareness of the on the standard safety and protection procedures to follow and adopt for maintaining their security in was improved.
The safety training programs has been held after SOMA and other media organizations has prepared and approved 12 principles of safety protocol manual protecting the safety of the journalist and media stations. Furthermore, SOMA has conducted symposium on strengthening security agencies and media relations for promoting safety of journalists, access of information and freedom of expression.
Moreover, the association is engaged in advocacy and lobbying campaign programs including: reforming media laws, encouraging the appropriate use of the Somali language, commemorating the international events such as international day to end the impunity for crimes against journalists and media houses, information day, access of information day, world radio day and encouraging the role of media in social transformation.
On the other hand, the SOMA association has conducted needs assessment survey on SOMA media houses operational across all the regions of Somalia from August to November 2019. The survey was aimed to evaluate the current situation of the media houses and their achievements since the last survey conducted in 2016. The surveyed locations were SOMA member media houses in Mogadishu, Baidoa, Bardheere , Bosaso, Garowe, Galkacyo, Adado, Dhuusamareeb and Guriel.
The assessment process was also intended to follow up the implementation of the Safety Protocol launched in 2018. As result, it was found out most of SOMA members have implemented the safety protocol procedures.
In conclusion, the Somali Media Association (SOMA) would like to take this opportunity to express special appreciation to IMS/FOJO and UNESCO for their valuable support in promoting the capacity and safety of the Somali journalists and media houses and undertaking the advocacy and lobbying campaigns programs.