Federation of Somali Journalists conducts Virtual Training on Conflicts and Crises Reporting for 102 Journalists
MOGADISHU, Somalia-Monday 22 June, 2020- The Federation of Somali Journalists (FESOJ) conducted a one-day virtual training session on Conflict and Crises Reporting on Saturday June 20, 2020 for 102 journalists and writers based across Somalia and overseas especially now with the COVID-19 crisis.
The safety and security of the journalists are key concerns. In response to this, FESOJ organized and conducted the workshop with the objective of creating awareness on their safety during conflicts and political crisis-sensitive reporting, their professional responsibilities and utilizing greater analytical depth and their skills to report on it without contributing to further violence or overlooking peace-building opportunities with particular attention had been paid on reporting the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections in Somalia.
The training provided by Hassan Bariise, a veteran Somali journalist who had worked with the BBC World Service and The Associated Press (AP) for decades and largely reported the bloody civil unrest in Somalia which saw rival warlords split the country into clan-based fiefdoms during which journalists were subsequently targeted for their work.
During the training, journalists were given insights and guidance to a better understanding of conflict, the news media’s role in conflict resolutions, and the basic principles of media ethics and journalism.
“I would encourage new journalists and media outlets to prioritize their security, because there is no story worth dying for,” Barise told the training attendants.
“Therefore, you should be careful at all times…it also very important for you to maintain professional responsibilities and avoid any reporting that can further perpetuate conflicts. You can instead do positive news reporting that can contribute to reconciliation and peace-building.” Mr. Barise urged journalists.
During the training, journalists had the opportunity to interact and question the training facilitator, on the challenges and experiences they had during his journalism career.
“FESOJ plans to hold virtual training sessions every Saturday with invitations would be extended to media experts, researchers and individuals who advocate for media freedom and human rights,” said Farah Omar Nur, FESOJ’s head for Training and Development projects.
After the insightful presentations including a Q and A session, the workshop facilitator Hassan Bariise recommended to the young journalists in Somalia as follows:-
– The media should refrain from promoting prejudicial stereotypes about groups and individuals through selective reporting not supported by facts and figures. The media should interact more with all interest groups, individuals and stakeholders so that no opinion or interest is marginalised.▪The media as a whole should be pluralistic and reflect the diversity of their society, giving access to various points of view and the right to reply.▪The media, as the key stakeholder and purveyor of information, should contribute to the maintenance of peace and reconciliation in the country by reporting conflicts and crises within the context of the Code of Ethics based on credible, factual, balanced and objective reporting.▪The journalist should observe professional integrity regarding the source of information obtained in confidence.▪Sensational reporting on sensitive issues that involve loss of lives should be avoided as much as possible, so as not to unwittingly transfer the crisis from the streets into homes causing unnecessary agitation.▪The practice of journalism should be in the overall interest of the operating environment. Journalists should, therefore, engage in balanced reporting with the objective of peaceful resolution and focus on activities that will diffuse tension rather than escalate it.▪Journalists should be able to detect potential sources of crisis and evaluate what could incite violence while striving to maintain a balance between the public’s right to know and the kind of information that could hurt the public psyche and constitute a threat to national security.▪The media should be able to help society identify potential sources of conflicts by studying their operational environment.