Sunday October 24, 2021
Jowhar (HOL) - The Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) concluded a three-day safety and media freedom training workshop in Jowhar town on Friday.
Several underrepresented communities, including women and minorities, benefitted from the training.
Over 20 reporters took part in the seminar funded by the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI). At least 60 journalists have taken part in similar programs across the country.
Abdishakur Abdullahi Ahmed (popularly known as Shaasha), a journalist and founder of City Radio and TV - a minority-community station - said he is often overlooked for training programs.
"Many of the local journalists from the marginalized community do not get access to training opportunities. SJS has become the first organization that dares to accommodate minority journalists despite many pressures and threats. We are grateful to Canada Fund for its generous support. This opportunity has indeed touched our hearts. We now know that we are part of the diverse people in Jowhar," he said.
Hamdi Mohamud Mohamed, a reporter with Radio Jowhar and Horn Cable TV, said that this was the rare training opportunity she has received despite being in the field for many years.
"I am a long-term serving female reporter in Jowhar. This is one of the few pieces of training I got. Thanks to the commitment of SJS leadership to ensure those female journalists are given adequate seats in training. I shall share the lessons we have learnt here with my other colleagues."
SJS Secretary-General Abdalle Ahmed Mumin said that although the workshop went smoothly, it was not without incident.
Mumin was arrested by Johwar police twice during the course of the three-day seminar. According to SJS officials, he was detained at the order of Hirshabelle Minister of Interior Mohamed Ali Adle for refusing to be extorted by security officials who demanded a bribery payment. The security officials rearrested Mumin the next day for going public with the Minister's demands, which also included a detailed list of workshop participants.
"These are the actions of corrupt authoritarian states. We know that NGOs here have been forced to pay bribes to government officials, but SJS will not accept these demands. We shall indeed use our good channels in the government and will utilize the rule of law, in order to defend our constitutional right to freedom of expression," Mr. Mumin added, "We call other organizations and civil society groups to follow suit and mitigate against corruption by denying to pay bribes to government officials even if they are powerful ones."