Stories that matter to the people
In Somalia and Somaliland, as in other regions where press freedom and freedom of expression are limited, the provision of information through the media is often heavily influenced by politicians, business elites and the government on the national level. Citizens therefore do not hear or read about the stories that matter to them in their everyday lives. By training and stimulating young citizen journalists to produce stories about their communities, Free Press Unlimited contributes to holding local authorities more accountable for their actions and decisions. The weekly broadcast investigative radio show ‘Our Right to Know’, moreover, provides a space for local news of human interest, which aligns with the rules and ethics of fact-based journalism.
Forging new partnerships to protect journalists
While media laws and the right to freedom of expression are existing in Somalia and Somaliland, journalists still get harassed and unjustifiably arrested. Through forging new partnerships with CSOs, journalists can excercise more pressure on the government and the security forces. Free Press Unlimited and its local partners seek to improve awareness on the rights of journalists and the existing legislation to protect them. Knowledge is exchanged and relevant cases of misconduct are discussed in so-called ‘Councils of Peace’, where representatives from the media and the governmental meet in a sphere of respect for one another. The first Council of Peace took place on 2 and 3 May 2018 (World Press Freedom Day).
Building new capacities
Free Press Unlimited works together with Media INK, and journalists’ associations and media organisations in Somaliland, Puntland and South Central Somalia. At the training centre of Media INK, journalists gain professional skills, which also contributes to improving their security situation. Since 2016, Media INK trained and coached 344 media workers, of which 111 women, from all regions of Somalia and Somaliland. Another important part of Free Press Unlimited’s intervention in the Somali media landscape concerns monitoring and analysis. Special attention is given to gender, ethical journalism and the quality of news reporting.