STORY: Some journalists steer clear of controversy in coverage of Somalia’s electoral process
SOURCE: UNSOM PUBLIC INFORMATION
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LANGUAGE: SOMALI NATURAL SOUND
DATELINE: 5/December/2016, MOGADISHU, BAIDOA – SOMALIA
1. Wide shot, elections of the House of the People in Banaadir region
2. Med shot, delegates vote for their preferred candidate during the electoral process in Mogadishu
3. Med shot, electoral process in the voting centers
4. Wide shot, delegates casting their votes
5. Med shot, delegates casting their votes
6. Wide shot, Somali journalists covering a press briefing by the Chairman of Federal Indirect Electoral Implementation Team (FIEIT)
7. Med shot, chairman of FIEIT talking to journalists
8. Wide shot, journalists covering a press briefing
9. SOUNDBITE: (SOMALI) Ali Abdirahman Adan, Journalist with Radio Mogadishu and SNTV based in Baidoa
“We were given full access to the electoral center where balloting was taking place. There were designated areas for journalists. After the voting exercise concluded, an electoral officer would usually call us and brief us on the voting exercise, who won, with how many votes and the name of the winning candidate.”
10. Med shot, a delegate casts her vote
11. Wide shot, journalists covering the electoral process in Banaadir region
12. Med shot, journalists covering the electoral process in Banaadir region
13. Med shot, election officials tallying votes
14. SOUNDBITE: (SOMALI) Mohamed Musse Mohamed, a reporter with Bulsho TV, Mogadishu
“The challenge is that the roads are normally closed and there is no public transport, so we have to move on foot for long distances. I wish we had transport reserved for us, to take us from a specific point to another. It consumes a lot of time.”
15. Wide shot, an election centre in the Banaadir region
16. Close up shot, a journalist streaming the elections live on Facebook on her cellphone
17. Wide shot, Farhiyo Mohamed Hussein, a journalist with Dalsan radio following the elections closely
18. SOUNDBITE: (SOMALI) Farhiyo Mohamed Hussein, a journalist with Dalsan radio
“I have gained a lot of experience in reporting on these elections. The experience is invaluable, being able to report from the polling centres and do it well.”
19. Med shot, election officials tallying votes
20. Close up shot, Somali police force officers observing the process
21. Med shot, journalists covering the process
22. SOUNDBITE: (SOMALI) Ali Abdirahman Adan, Journalist with Radio Mogadishu and SNTV based in Baidoa
“I did not receive any threats or intimidation from anyone. We usually refrain from news that brings us threats or intimidation. We also do not report controversial stories that will bring challenges to our work.”
23. Wide shot, Somali journalists covering a press briefing by the chairman of the FIEIT
Some journalists steer clear of controversy in coverage of Somalia’s electoral process
Baidoa, Mogadishu, 5 December 2016 – Some Somali journalists admit they have practiced self-censorship in reporting the ongoing electoral process in one of the world’s most dangerous countries for members of the news media.
“We usually refrain from news that brings us threats or intimidation,” said Ali Abdirahman Adan, a journalist with state-owned Radio Mogadishu and Somali National Television who is based in Baidoa, the interim administrative capital of South West state.
“We also do not report controversial stories that will bring challenges to our work,” he added.
The resort to self-censorship reflects the harsh realities facing the news media in Somalia, where over 30 journalists have been killed since August 2012.
A report issued last September by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) and the Office of the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights cited killings, arrests, intimidation, harassment, the confiscation of equipment, the blocking of websites and closure of critical media outlets as among the worst hazards menacing journalists and media practitioners in the country.
The report named federal and state-level security forces, including the Somali National Army, the Somali Police Force and the National Intelligence and Security Agency, as the main perpetrators of abuses against media workers.
But the electoral process period has been a relatively quiet time for journalists, despite the highly charged political environment in which some aspiring candidates have gone to great lengths to discredit their opponents.