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Journalists from across Somalia have attended a one-day virtual discussion program on “Journalism Success Stories in Somalia” hosted by the United States Embassy on Thursday.
The discussion which aimed to highlight the vital work of the journalists and their resilience amid critical times was the first in its kind to focus on success side of the Somali media as it also shed the light on the challenges facing the Horn of African country’s press freedom.
Abdalle Ahmed Mumin, a freelance journalist based in Mogadishu and the Secretary General for the Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) was the guest speaker of the discussion which attracted more than 28 journalists and editors from Mogadishu, South West State, Hirshabelle State, Jubbaland State, Puntland State and even from Somaliland.
In his presentation, Mr. Mumin shared examples of successful stories he covered in the past that had an impact, the challenges faced by journalists, and also offered tips to help make Somalia’s media ecosystem more resilient.
“The resilience of the Somali media begins with the safety of the journalists and the diversity of its leadership, and diversity of the media programming. Our media institutions, unfortunately, do not invest in its professionals. This must change,” said Abdalle Mumin.
Mr. Mumin emphasised the need for change in the way the local media and journalists present stories, especially at a time when the technology revolution and the use of social media influence the society.
“Journalists should undergo more trainings to change their working conditions, lives and career development. Entrepreneurship is also important for local media houses. Media directors also need to re-strategize their business models for them to survive,” he added.
Bradley Meacham, from the U.S Embassy in Somalia stressed the importance of media freedom and also noted that the U.S Embassy is keen to promote press freedom and explore ways to support journalists.
A question-and-answer session also covered extensive topics including censorship, undertaking dangerous assignments, covering displaced communities and refugees as well as journalists’ techniques of good stories that impact peoples’ lives.