Wednesday, October 24, 2012
'With this new approach we are emphasizing the universal similarities between all Somalians', says team-leader Turan Ali. Apart from broadcasting independent news, Radio Hirad will now also focus on emotion in the everyday life of Somalians.

In addition to independent news, Radio Hirad, recently founded by Free Press Unlimited, will now also weekly broadcast a human interest-based magazine. Through this perspective, Somalians, of all clans and communities, share life-stories with one another on the radio. This new radio program is meant to enhance human relationships in a dramatically divided Somalia on the long run. 'It shows Somalians, whether they live in Somaliland, Puntland or South-Central Somalia, how much they actually have in common', says Ali. By weekly sharing life-stories, Somalians are expected to gain more mutual respect and admiration in the future. 'A story about a mother who lost her son as a consequence of the violence of war for instance, is a human tragedy which speaks to the imagination of all Somalians, not just to people of a certain clan', Ali explains. In the first stage, Somalians might think: 'Am I not supposed to hate this woman, since she is a member of a hostile clan?'. In the future, Ali hopes that this hatred will gradually be replaced with more mutual understanding and fraternization.

For the people in war torn Somalia, radio is the most dominant source of information. Newspapers and television are scarce. This new human interest approach is part of the Radio Hirad project, through which Free Press Unlimited works to establish an independent and sustainable Somalian radio-sector. At this moment new equipment for Radio Hirad is being shipped to Somalia, including recording devices which are needed to launch its new magazine. The working climate for journalists in Somalia today is still very dangerous. Journalists are constantly being threatened, attacked and killed by both government and rebels. According to Ali, this new approach possibly also leads to a safer work environment for journalists since human interest is less provocative than news, which often brings the facts governments nor rebels like to hear. So not only its listeners, also the makers of the program benefit from this new working method. 'From that perspective, it is a win-win situation', Ali says.