× HomeAbout usAdvertisementContact us
NUSOJ Organizes a Panel Discussion on Protection and Safety of Women Journalists in Conflict Situations in Mogadishu
Africa

NUSOJ Organizes a Panel Discussion on Protection and Safety of Women Journalists in Conflict Situations in Mogadishu

The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) has held a one-day panel discussion on the protection and the safety of the women journalists in conflict situations in Mogadishu, hosting representatives from media houses, government officials, lawyers, female reporters, journalists, women activists and members of the public. The panel discussion which aimed to delve into the specific challenges and risks that women journalists face in conflict zones as well as the ways to address them, was held at Maka al –Mukarama Hotel with the support from the United Nations Somalia Mission (UNSOM) Human Rights and Protection Unit. At the opening of the forum, senior journalist and media trainer Abdalle Mumin made a very concise presentation on the latest statistics on about attacks and threats that targeted women in the media highlighting the need for developing protection policy for women in journalism including self-defense against rape and other physical threats including those targeting women journalists on the internet. Mahir Jama Adan, NUSOJ Chairperson who led the panel discussion, has on his side called for a nationwide reporting mechanism so that incidents affecting female journalists are better documented. “The safety need of the female journalists not only happen on the field when on assignment. They also exist at the workplaces,” Mar. Mahir said “Female journalists are courageous but also vulnerable when working in conflict and fragile security zones.” Mohamed Abdiwahab, the Secretary General of Somali Media Association (SOMA) has acknowledged NUSOJ for hosting the panel discussion in an appropriate time. He said media directors under SOMA umbrella were taking the protection and the safety of the women in the media as serious issue and necessity requirement for all media outlets. “Male Journalists are not safe if their female counterparts are not safe,”Mr Abdiwahab adds “Female reporters have unique safety challenges and therefore need unique approach.” Maryan Adam Amin, the Director of Social Affairs at the Office of the Somali Prime Minister underlined that protection of female workers is always underestimated due to reluctance of girls and women who are unwilling to report cases of intimidation and threats. “We’ve seen female journalists who are either abused, threatened or personally and physically attacked. Unfortunately these women are not willing to come out and speak.” Maryan said. Maryan declared a new approach in which the Government is trying to launch a new Task Force which will enable new reporting mechanism for women- including those working in the media. On the Somali perspective, Lawyer Abdirahman Omar Hassan spoke of taking extra mile in encouraging women to demand full safety in and out of their workplace during the recruitment stage and the start of their contracts. “Women should not take risk of reporting from frontline while not having all procedures to safeguard their lives and their dignity. Media directors should ensure that female staff in their media houses are given special arrangement of safety.” the lawyer pointed out. Amina Ladan Ali, a senior female anchor at SNTV has courageously narrated examples of threat cases against women in the media including female sent to work in unsafe environment. “While poorly paid, women journalists in Somalia are still suffering. Some are even facing continuous threats on their daily basis.” She said. “Women reporters decide not to report on specific topics due to the many threats they face. Editors and directors are not willing to assign female journalists to cover specific topics because of they see women as weak.” Amina Ladan further highlighted. Digging deep into the topic, Hinda Jama who is a freelance female camera operator and trainer has told the panel and the participants that female journalists need not to be frustrated with intimidations and threats including the online threat the female reporters face. Most of the participants who spoke or raised questions at the panel were women expressing their first-hand experiences and insights regarding the day-to-day challenges they face as women journalists. At the end of the panel which took longer than expected, Farah Omar, who is media expert and NUSOJ head of trainings has emphasized the need for developing safety mechanism and training module for the protection of women in the Somali media which could reflect the local environment. Mohamed Ibrahim Moalimuu NUSOJ Secretary General thanks to United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia especially for UN Human Rights and Protection office for their collaboration and assistance to the Somali journalists on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression. The panel discussion ended smoothly as participants made a call for unified endeavor to safeguard women in the media in Somalia.