The training initiative intends to build a pool of competent journalists to train and prepare as human rights journalists’ trainers who can teach other journalists on the reporting of human rights and to improve public awareness about human rights and to help expose underreported stories professionally and safely.
The three-day training sessions (between 28 – 30 August) in Mogadishu brought together 20 local journalists from Mogadishu, Kismayo, Gedo and Hargeisa. The training sessions contextualised various topics including trend of human rights abuses in Somalia, monitoring, documentation and reporting of cases as well as the legal and safety challenges facing local journalists.
Lack of dedicated human rights focusing media and the low skill of local journalists remain as the main challenge against the promotion of the culture of human rights in Somalia. Tapping into the vital role that journalists can play in— not only as advocates but also as trainers through human rights education— can help to protect the effective enjoyment of human rights in Somalia.
“This training increased our knowledge and our capacity towards human rights reporting in Somalia. As a woman journalist, it empowered me to address violations and inequalities that exist in our society fairly and effectively through our reporting,” training participant Kiin Hasan Fakat, who is one of only six women journalists working in all female Bilan Media said. “I am now prepared to spread the human rights education to my colleagues and our newsroom.”
One of the training facilitators and ex-staffer at Human Right Watch, Samatar Abdi said in an environment that is often volatile and precarious, it is vital to inculcate a rights-respecting culture by training the next generation of activists through human rights education. “Kudos to the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and the Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) for this timely initiative for Somali journalists. There is a need for a more comprehensive training and extending the same to the Somali regional states.”
On the conclusion of the training SJS Secretary-General, Abdalle Ahmed Mumin expressed his gratitude to the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) for providing the timely financial support for SJS human rights training project. He pointed out that the general objective is to raise and improve the situation of human rights to create a broader reach of journalists in the local media.
“Thanks to the timely support we received from NED, through this project SJS will train a total of 80 journalists as ToT in five selected regions in Somalia. Once trained, the journalists will later provide in-house training for colleague journalists in each respective media house on human rights reporting,” Abdalle Ahmed Mumin, SJS Secretary-General said “We are also providing ongoing mentorship support on both legal and safety wise on the best practices when covering human rights stories including sensitive cases without putting themselves in danger. This will give the journalists courage to cover more human rights stories professionally and safely.”