MOGADISHU, Somalia Friday 05 June, 2020-
Seventy Somali journalists from various regions in Somalia and neighboring countries have participated in online training on Thursday June 4-5, 2020 aimed at improving coverage of the Covid-19 in their media organisations. Federation of Somali Journalists (FESOJ) organized the online training with the assistance of Free Press Unlimited to help Somali journalists navigate through fake news, propaganda and unprecedented scenarios linked to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Yusuf Garaad Omar, former Somalia Foreign Minister and veteran long serving editor at the BBC Somali service and Mahad Jama Koronto a senior media trainer from Media Ink each facilitated two online sessions focused on improving the awareness, safety and protection of journalists and other media professionals in the context of COVID-19.
“Free, independent and pluralistic media play an indispensable role in informing the public during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Everyone has the right to comprehensible, accessible, timely and reliable information concerning the nature and level of the threat COVID-19 poses to their health, allowing them to follow evidence-based guidance on how to stay safe” Yusuf Garaad told attendees.
“It is important that the public be given information about figures of patients who have been infected by the disease or number of fatalities, but journalists are required to look into more detail all other issues surrounding impacts of COVID-19, including economic impact, education, travel and so on” Yusuf Garaad added.
Mahad Koronto, discussed with the journalists the importance of relying on official sources, the need to research and fact-check all medical reports in line with relevant ethical guidelines in crisis reporting. He also called on journalists to humanize the impact of COVID-19 instead of just reporting numbers while remaining culturally sensitive in our reporting.
“We hope that this training will improve the way journalists cover the COVID-19 related news. We call on the trained journalists to put into practice the lessons and strategies shared by the experts” Farah Omar Nur FESOJ Training and Development Secretary said.
Journalists who participated in the training thanked FESOJ and the instructors, Hassan Nur based in Kismaayo said “The workshop was an excellent mix of timely, practical and stimulating advice and ideas on how to handle key issues affecting journalists and their reporting of the COVID 19 crisis.”
“FESOJ plans to conduct other online trainings on COVID-19 in consideration of FESOJ requests from journalists across the country” Farah Omar Nur FESOJ Training and Development Secretary added.