Comprehensive support to strengthen Somalia’s media
The programme seeks to strengthen the Somali media's professionalism, freedom and independence. It addresses a number of the vast challenges facing the country's media sector. This includes advocating for improved safety of journalists and better regulation of the media, strengthening the economic sustainability of media houses and enhancing editorial independence. The programme also seeks to strengthen the entry-level journalism education and improve the skills of working journalists.
"Somalia might be at a turning point at the moment and our hope is that the media programme will contribute to a continuous positive development" says Fojo's International Director Johan Romare.
The current situation in the country gives new opportunities in addressing much of the country's hierarchical power structures and patriarchal attitudes. This also means the programme will look to strengthen the role of women and youth in the media
"All aspects of the media sector must be addressed for it function properly. Without proper media laws and safe working environments, professional journalism will not thrive and vice versa", says Jesper Højberg:
"We now have a solid framework for the next four years, within which we can take a work step-by-step approach to supporting the Somali media."
A largely pastoralist and nomadic society, Somalia has seen decades of conflict and makes for one of the most hostile areas in the world for independent journalism. Numerous forces seek to control the media to manipulate the public and fuel conflicts and independent journalists are seen as threats and frequently face harassment and attacks. The militant Islamist group Al-Shabaab in particular has been known for bombing radio stations and killing journalists as a way to silence independent voices.
But the country has seen positive developments after more than two decades without a central government, with renewed growth in business in the capital Mogadishu, a Federal Government which still remains in power after its formation in 2012, and the 2013 international "New deal" which seeks to strengthen the economy and security. The vast Somali diaspora, which has traditionally played an important role in Somali media, is also included in the four-year programme, providing capacity building and partnerships as well as investments in the media sector.