The history of the Somali electronic media has passed through various stages beginning form the colonial era to the present state.
The civilian government that governed the country from 1960s was overthrown after nine years in place on October 21, 1969 by military regime. The military ruled the country for 21 long years with firm dictatorial administration, the military has dissolved the constitution and instead governed with decrees, that has ended the freedom of expression and free media.
After the military government was ousted by mass uprising and armed factional groups in January 1991, there was gap and a need to establish privately owned radio stations. Consequently, the first private electronic media was introduced in the county in 1999 and thereafter many other private radios were formed up across Somalia.
As result, there is increased number of privately owned radio stations currently operating in all over Somalia. Given to the situation, there was need to establish media associations such as the Somali Media Association (SOMA) that are working to empower these the media houses and journalists through providing skill trainings to upgrade them with the ethical norms on professional responsible media houses and journalism.
Thus, SOMA is working toward improving the capacity of the member media houses and journalists through building their capacities and provides media services for the community covering social and economical development, peace building, civic education and good governance.
WHO WE ARE
The Somali Media Association (SOMA) is an independent, non- profit and non-political media organization established by a group of media managers in Somalia.
SOMA was first founded as the Network 2013 in Kampala on 13 February 2013 by 13 radio stations across Somalia by signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and development of a Constitution. However, in its General Assembly held in May 2016, the name of Network 2013 was changed to the Somali Media Association (SOMA).
The management structure of SOMA comprises of Chairperson, Deputy Chairperson, Secretary General and 7- member of Executive Committee.
The purpose of the Association is to promote the principles of a free, independent and professional Somali media dedicated to advancing peace, reconciliation and democratic values, and in particular to strengthen the capacity of radio stations as public service providers for the Somali community, thereby contributing to peace, reconciliation and development.
The Association is funded by its members through fees registration, contributions and from the member media houses and fundraising and lobbying for external funding from partner organizations.
The Somali Media Association (SOMA) envisions to be the leading most respected electronic broadcast representative organization in Somalia.
To proactively support and promote the independence, legal and economic interests of its members through the provision of top quality research, advisory, consultancy, and advocacy in a changing business and regulatory environment.
The values of the Somali Media Association (SOMA) are driven by the following core philosophies:
- Impartial judgment
- Team work
The objectives of the Somali Media Association (SOMA) are rooted in the belief of empowering the community. It will be an engine of social development.
The SOMA set objectives include:
- Empowering community through media powers of information.
- Building sustainable community engagement networks by involving the public in development initiatives.
- Give voice for the voiceless and addressing public issues of concern
- Promote Peace journalism
- Commitment for empowering the media houses and journalists
- Strengthen unity of SOMA member media houses
WHAT WE DO
The Somali Media Association (SOMA) works in the following field:-
- EMPOWERING THE CAPACITY OF SOMA MEDIA HOUSES AND JOURNALISTS
The Somali Media Association (SOMA) is committed to enhance the capacity of its member media houses and journalists through various capacity building programs to improve their ability to provide quality and professional media services for the public to contribute in the efforts for the development process, peace and reconciliation.
Empowered media houses and journalists are powerful means of creating community awareness on important social issues that will send messages to the public. This will eventually create knowledgeable citizens capable of carrying their civic responsibilities.
Mass media communication is a basic human right and everyone is entitled right to information. The radio broadcasts are described to be the cheapest means of communication that the poor people too could afford.
2). PROMOTING THE SAFETY OF MEDIA HOUSES AND JOURNALISTS
The Somali Media Association (SOMA) is working on capacity building programs to improve the awareness of SOMA members on the need to develop safety protocols for the media journalists in Somalia, and how to ensure its full development. The safety protocol has the significant and need to increase the journalists’ awareness and skills in dealing with life-threatening situations in conflict areas while covering events in conflicts zones.
SOMA is also working towards developing a final safety protocol manual to be commonly shared among the media staff in Somalia.
3). STRENTHENING THE NETWORKING OF SOMA MEDIA HOUSES AND
The Somali Media Association (SOMA) comprising of more than 40 media houses are interlinked and networking through established structured system of General Assembly with annual meeting that shares information on achievements, challenges and approving the strategic planning.
The association has governing team of Chairperson, Deputy Chairperson, Secretary General and Executive members that manages and decides important issues for the association.
4). THE CONTENT SHARING PROGRAM
The Somali Media Association (SOMA) is managing the Content Sharing Program since September 2016 and has produced and transmitted more than 62 Episodes on weekly throughout all the SOMA member radio media houses across Somalia.
The content sharing program that interlink all SOMA media houses focuses on production and broadcasting quality radio programs on social issues such as good governance, peace, reconciliation, leadership, education, health and youth development program to further improve the awareness raising of the community.
The main purpose of content sharing program is to serve media services sharing between the member radio stations and linkage of the community awareness raising program, especially prevailing current issues
5). ADVOCACY AND LOBBYING CAMPAIGNS
The Somali Media Association (SOMA) undertakes advocacy and lobbying campaigns programs to observe annually the international and local events that are of special significance for improving the safety of the Somali media and journalists.
The advocacy and lobbying campaigns are also aimed to promote the independence and freedom of expression and professional journalism.
The Somali Media Association (SOMA) partners and collaborates with various member radio stations, universities, and private and government institutions, international and local organizations to promote media development and create networks of success.
Presently, SOMA is partnering and collaborating with:-
- Radio Ergo
- Media Ink/Free Press Unlimited