STORY: Somali journalists speak out on press freedom
SOURCE: UNSOM PUBLIC INFORMATION
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LANGUAGE: SOMALI/ENGLISH/NATURAL SOUND
DATELINE: 3/MAY/2016, MOGADISHU, SOMALIA
1. Med shot, Somali journalists and UNSOM officials at the round table media discussion
2. Close up shot, a journalist speaking at the discussions
3. Close up shot, a journalist listening
4. Med shot, Joe Contreras, spokesperson of the Untied Nations Assistance in Somalia speaking at the event
5. Close up shot, Ms Leila Osman speaking
6. SOUNDBITE: (Somali) Ms Leila Osman, producer with the government-
owned Somalia National Television (SNTV) and Radio Mogadishu
“Some journalists have been killed in the past. One does not know whether
he or she will live to see another day. But in the last 12 months the number of
those injured or killed has reduced although the threat is still there.”
7. Wide shot, Somali journalists and UNSOM officials at the round table media discussion
8. Close up shot, Natalie de Oliveira, UNSOM’s human rights office responsible for monitoring and reporting taking notes
9. Med shot, UNSOM officials taking notes at the event
10. Wide shot, Somali journalists and UNSOM officials at the round table media discussion
11. SOUNDBITE: (English) Ismail Sheikh Khalif, Star FM director
“The access to information is very limited, very complicated. If you are going to have
an interview with the public, if there is a riot for example and you go to the police to
give information to cover that event, most people are not willing to talk to you and
give you information about those they are protesting against.”
12. SOUNDBITE: (Somali) Mohamed Ahmed Abdullahi, Al Jazeera TV producer
“There is bound to be a lot of competition and as such what you report may be misunderstood and perceived as biased. This may trigger accusations of bias against the journalist because the law is not clear”.
13. Close up shot, journalist listening
14. Close up shot, journalist listening
15. SOUNDBITE: (English) Natalie de Oliveira, UNSOM Human Rights and Protection Group
“The threats are very different from security and targeting from al-Shabaab. From
limitation of the freedom of expression, in Somaliland for example, where many
media houses or journalists are regularly arrested or suspended for different reasons, and as you mentioned using criminal law in fact to restrain the freedom of
16. Med shot, a journalist speaking
17. Wide shot, Somali journalists and UNSOM officials at the round table media discussion
Somali journalists speak out on press freedom
Mogadishu, 3 May 2016 – Somali journalists spoke candidly about the state of media freedoms in the country and the recently passed media law yesterday during a discussion hosted by the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) to commemorate World Press Freedom Day.
The journalists who represented both independent and state-owned media said they continue to face obstacles in accessing information, low salaries and a lack of security that has led to the deaths of some of their colleagues.
In a roundtable discussion moderated by UNSOM spokesperson Joseph Contreras, the journalists spoke of the many challenges they face in their day-to-day work.
Leila Osman of the government-owned Somalia National Television (SNTV) and Radio Mogadishu said most journalists work in a hostile environment that has forced some to flee the country.
“But in the last 12 months the number of those injured or killed has been reduced, although the threat is still there”, she added.
Al Jazeera TV producer Mohamed Ahmed Abdullahi described the recently passed media law as a step in the right direction, but he said there was a need for the enactment of additional legislation to make it fully operational.
Abdullahi warned that some of the ambiguities in the law made it difficult for journalists to know what are the legal restrictions on print and broadcast news coverage.
The Al Jazeera producer said that as the country heads into an electoral process later this year that will choose a new federal parliament, journalists would face an added risk of being accused by politicians of biased reporting.
Ismail Sheikh Khalif from Star FM concurred, adding that the government’s unwillingness to share information with journalists makes it more difficult for the news media to deliver fair and balanced coverage.
Natalie de Oliveira of the UNSOM Human Rights and Protection Group cited threats from security services and terrorist attacks mounted by Al Shabaab militants as some of the challenges facing journalists in Somalia.