Mogadishu, Tuesday November 27, 2018: Members representing the Somali Media Association (SOMA), member media houses, members of socila media team, MPs and civil society organizations attended a meeting organized and conducted by the International Media Support and Fojo Media Institute.

The meeting focusing on how can Somali Media play a socially transformative role has been held at the Peace Hotel in Mogadishu, Somalia on November 27, 2018.

Directors and members from the various media stations, TV stations, NUSOJ, SOSCENSA, the Faculty of Journalism of the Somali National University and participants from other media outlets in the regions were the main participants in the one-day meeting.

The SOMA member media houses and personnel attending the meeting were: Risaala radio, Mustaqbal Radio, Radio Haatuf, Radio Kulmiye, Star FM Somalia, Radio Himilo, SBC TV, Radio Afgoye, SOMA program manager and Ciyaaraha FM.

The meeting was aiming to provide a platform for inspiring discussions on the fundamental role the Somali media plays in engaging citizens in the ongoing process of Somalia’s development.

The meeting also highlighted the significance of Somali women journalists that have broken the gender barriers and have became role for other women.

Furthermore, the gathering has put in the spotlight the key organizations that are working on to improve the safety and protection of the actual journalists whose role is to produce professional content to engage the public.

In her introduction remarks, Manja Kamwi, Program Director, IMS/FOJO Media Program has pointed the media has the potential role in building democracy.

Khalid Maow Abdulkadir, Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee and Communication has officially opened the meeting, appreciated to IMS/FOJO for conducting the meeting and has welcomed the participants.

“The main topics of the meeting are important, and the role of the media has changed, there are still some challenges the media are facing. The news making requires accuracy, impartiality and social responsibility, otherwise conflicts could arise.” Khalid Maow said.

He said the government and the media should have cooperation as the main role of the media is information, education, entertainment and community awareness raising. He urged the participants to take advantage from the panel discussion and debates sessions.

Then, time was given to the media organizations including SWJ, SOMA, MAP and SIMHA to highlight their achievements resulting from four years of partnerships with the IMS/FOJO.

The achievements the media organizations mentioned included the capacity of the media houses and journalists was improved, safety trainings were conducted and safety protocol manual produced to improve the safety and protection of the media houses and journalists., and effective media houses networking system has been established and promoted.

The media association well noted and appreciated the support rendered by IMS/FOJO to promote the capacity of the Somali media and journalists through the partnership.

Mohamed Abduwahab, the Secretary General of the Somali Media Association (SOMA) pointed out the achievements the Association has made in partnership with IMS/FOJO include: managing the Content Sharing program that interlinks all SOMA media houses, provided safety training to more than 100 media editors and reporters from different SOMA member media houses in Mogadishu, Baidoa, Adado, Kismayo and Galkacyo.

He stated in cooperation with other media associations, SOMA has produced, signed and launched Safety protocol manual of 12 main principles and distributed to all media members for   protecting the safety of the journalists and the media houses.

He also added that SOMA has set out policy of self funding process by its members through registration membership fees, and mentioned that SOMA is currently partnering with Horn Connect Company for providing services related with awareness raising campaign for the constitution of Somalia throughout the SOMA member media stations operational across Somalia.

Thereafter, the first panel session focusing on the two key topics with questions and answers from the participants has been conducted. The two main topics were: How do we ensure media freedom and the safety of journalist in Somalia? – How do we ensure female journalist stay in the sector?

In conclusion, the second panel session dealing with two main issues with questions and answers from the audience has been implemented.

The two key topics covered were: How can media engage more interactively with the Somali public? – What role will Somali women journalists play in widening audience engagement?