Why the BBC is alienating Somalis from Somalia and Djibouti from working with BBC Somali Service
Since its establishment the BBC Somali Service has been a core and essential to Somali speaking audience living in Horn of Africa and the rest of the world.
The BBC maintained standards, quality and reliable news for long time, but things started to change when the civil war broke out in Somalia in 1991. During these times the standards, qualities and reliability have been questionable.
Despite this upheaval that faced the station, yet positive responses to address these challenges were available, thanks to the top management of the BBC and the experienced staff of the BBC Somali Service.
Things got worse when the BBC Africa division was brought under African leadership. The new leadership came up with a policy of involving in Somalia politics by alienating Somalis from Somalia, Djibouti and Ethiopia’s Zone five (Kilinka Shannaad).
One of the BBC Africa team Joosafiin Hazlee is the one who is assigned to implement this strategy.
Two years ago the BBC advertised jobs at its bureau in Nairobi. Some vibrant and young journalists from Somalia emerged in the top list of the test to get the job. They were called and notified that they succeeded in test and will be called to take up their jobs.
Unexpectedly, Joosafiin called the victors and told them that their tests have been cancelled. She did not give any clear reason of why the tests of the Somali candidates were cancelled. Later on Joosafiin made it clear that no Somalis or Djiboutians will be allowed to work with BBC Somali in Nairobi unless they come with their work permits from Kenyan government and pay the fees by themselves.
As per the BBC policy, any staff working with the agency is entitled to get his papers of work done by the BBC.
Even in Nairobi all the expats got their work permit papers through BBC, except Somalis and Djiboutians.
The BBC has called for a retake of the test, and all the slots were given to Somali Kenyan journalists. The Somali journalists from Mogadishu, Puntland, Somaliland and Jubbaland were told by Lady Joosafiin that the BBC cannot hire them because of work permit issues.
Lady Joosafiin cannot hide her animosity against Somalia and she sometimes blocks reporting of Somalia and Djibouti affairs.
According to some sources the attitude of Lady Joosafiin against the Somalis came from an incident that took place in Somalia. Joosafiin who is from Sierra Leone had some relatives in the Sierra Leonean peacekeepers forces in Somalia. During a fighting between African Union Peacekeepers and the extremist Al Shabab group in southern Somalia, two Sierra Leonean soldiers (one was killed and the other one sustained injuries). The two soldiers happened to be cousins to madame Joosafiin.
Recently, the BBC Somali has announced a plan to launch a new Somali TV. Again, Madame Joosafiin has announced that only Somalis from Kenya will be hired, and no opportunities for Somalis from Somalia, Djibouti, and Ethiopia.
The BBC Somali is not a local or a national radio designated for one country, but an international station that has to reflect the diversity of its audiences.
This is a message to the top BBC management who might not know what is happening in the BBC Africa Division. Also the governments of Somalia and Djibouti have to take note of the maltreatment against their nationals by the BBC. Somalia and Djibouti are fully Somali speaking nations, while Kenya has got only one region with Somali speaking people.
Under the leadership of the BBC Africa, the BBC Somali Service has lost standards, quality, and neutrality. With this discrimination policy of isolating journalists from Somalia, and using a very poor Somalia language, it is obvious that a big number of audiences will follow the suit by switching off the station and turn to the fast-developing Somali media outlets.