Somalia Conference: promises of action on media freedom, safety of journalists

“We agreed on the important role a free and independent media should play in Somalia, and welcomed the Federal Government’s commitment to investigate and prosecute those responsible for the killing of journalists, and to promote press freedom.”
(Somalia Conference 2013: Official Communiqué at GOV.UK.)

Yesterday’s conference communiqué was unambiguous on the need to protect the media in Somalia. Here’s a selection of the international groups working on media policy issues in Somalia, and a couple of recent reports about the media environment in the country – let us know via the comments what we’re missing, and we’ll update the list.

EU fact sheet from Dec 2012 detailing some of the activities of the Somalia Media Support Group of donors, NGOs, and international organisations, and insights into the future strategy for supporting Somalia’s media sector to 2015
CIMA‘s compilation of where Somalia sits in various international press freedom rankings
– Somalia sits in 2nd position in the CPJ’s Impunity Index for killings of journalists
Article 19 has been tracking the development of Somalia’s media law, and recently held a conference on protection of journalists in Mogadishu
– the BBC’s media development arm, BBC Media Action, produced a media environment analysis and a policy briefing about the role of the media in 2011
– the InfoAsAid project we featured a couple of weeks ago includes a pretty comprehensive Somalia media/telecoms landscape report from early 2012 (also here)
– the Center for Law and Democracy published a media law and policy review for Somalia in late 2012 (here’s a piece from Albany Associates about the report)
– Albany Associates is also supporting the government and the UN’s AMISOM more broadly on communications
NORAGRIC is a less usual source for media landscape information, but here’s their March 2012 report on Somalia
– Danish NGO IMS supports a Somali radio station, Radio Ergo
Global Voices covers Somalia with reasonable regularity, as has the Guardian‘s Data Blog

And finally, here are some stats on social media usage in Somalia, courtesy of Social Bakers.

1 comment
  1. said:

    NPR published a story about the precariousness of journalism in Somalia a couple of days ago here:

    Here’s a brief extract to give you a flavour:

    “Media is thriving in the new Somalia. And journalism is one of the few careers people can pursue without education or money or family connections. Young Somalis who grew up during the past two decades of war talk about a career in journalism with a kind of awe.

    “I know it’s very difficult … because all my friends, they died,” says Hamdi Ali Ahmed, 20. “Still now, I like journalism; I’m working [as a] journalist; my hobby’s a journalist.”

    “Hobby,” it turns out, is a word in the Somali tongue — borrowed from the English, but with a meaning closer to passion, or calling, than pastime.

    Abdi Uud is Shabelle’s 38-year-old news director. He banks on that zeal when he hires journalists as young as 15 and 16.

    “The young people are passionate about this work,” Uud says. “And if a person is passionate, he doesn’t care if he’ll be killed or not.””

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