The Somali Media Association (SOMA) consisting the union of 36 radio stations has implemented two anti- Sharuur conferences – campaign against the illegal payment to the media staff in Mogadishu on June 5, 2016 and in Garowe on June 23, 2016. This is the first time such two conferences on the impact of Sharuur on the media and the society were held in Mogadishu and Garowe respectively.
The one-day Anti-Sharuur conference event held at Mogadishu and Garowe consecutively in cooperation with Media Ink in partnership with Free Press Unlimited attracted the active participation of one hundred sixty participants comprising of journalists, media house owners, civil society organizations, religious leaders, government officials, the National Union of Somali Journalists(NUSOJ), Media Association of Puntland (MAP) and other relevant stakeholders.
The two conferences focused on awareness raising on the negative impact of the tips for the media known as Sharuur or Qabah on the lives of the journalists and media houses involved and the reliability and factuality of reported news items.
Evidently, the two events contributed to be a starting point of making the endemic sharuur to Somali journalist issue debatable, tackling the root causes and finding out other alternative means of addressing the sharuur practice.
The main themes discussed during the conduct of the two of the conferences were definition of Sharuur, Is there a solution for the Sharuur, how could we overcome the negative habit, Is there another alternative way to generate funds for the media, what are the views the journalists have on the Sharuur itself and issuing final communiqué on the negative impact of Sharuur.
The participants of the two events were given time to discuss main questions focusing on the Sharuur which were: What is the difference between Sharuur and Advertisement, why sharuur is paid for, who are the takers of sharuur, how much impact the sharuur has for the media and how the media and the journalists could make income without taking sharuur.
All the main themes and the key questions were covered successfully, and the participants contributed their opinions in regard to the key topics discussed during the two conference sessions.
During the discussions the participants have unanimously agreed the practice of Sharuur taking is the causes of tarnishing the reputation of the media, the killing of the media and reporters in general. The sharuur practice was also described to be a corruption.
By the end of each of the two Anti-Sharuur conference in Mogadishu and Garowe, the participants appreciating the Media Ink and Free Press Unlimited for the support have issued two separate communiqués for public release.
The communiqués highlighted the negative impact of the Sharuur taking and the need to train the media owners and directors to curb the sharuur taking habit and continue the efforts on anti-sharuur campaign.