13 February 2014
As the World commemorates the World Radio Day, the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) would like to applaud the establishment of many radio stations in Somalia.
Despite the explosion of new information and communication technologies such as the Internet as well television networks, radio remains the major source of news and information for most people in the country.
The coming on board of several radio stations in dangerous period for media community has largely pluralized radio in Somalia, presenting an opportunity for young and emerging journalists.
“It is our belief that more radio stations would enhance citizens’ rights to access to information and freedom of expression,” said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General.
This year, the theme is gender equality and women’s empowerment in radio. It emphasizes the role of women in radio and promotes strategies to produce inclusive content that reflects the issues that concern them.
Today, women can be found in all newsrooms. They cover every issue from peace to war and their numbers in journalism continue to rise. But they are still impeded by discrimination over the top jobs, they earn less than male colleagues, they have less access to training, and they continue to be forced into impossible choices between career and family.
“There is inaccurate and unfair portrayal of women in the media due to stereotypical coverage of women, lack of use of female sources, lack of coverage of issues of concern to women and giving a unimportant image to women and their interests” added Osman.
NUSOJ demands Radio Managers to respect and protect the work rights of women journalists and treat them equally with their male colleagues by providing them equal pay, equal promotional chances and equal training opportunities.
Radio journalists are the most targeted victims of media freedom violations in any region of the country. NUSOJ calls on federal and regional authorities to arrest and prosecute any individuals, including government officials, implicated in media freedom violations in order to curb wanton harassment of media practitioners and guarantee the safety and security in the conduct of their lawful and professional duties.
“The Federal Government must carry our broadcasting reform in order to transform Radio Mogadishu and Somali National TV into public broadcasters with genuine public service mandate that reflects all shades of Somali opinions” said Osman. “It is of utmost importance that the current State broadcasters operate in the public interests, and not state interests.”
The Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression in Africa of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (2002), notes that oral traditions, which are rooted in African cultures, lend themselves particularly well to radio broadcasting. Radio therefore provides a platform where young and old may speak, exchange ideas, learn and be entertained.
And for these reasons, on this day NUSOJ commemorates the power of radio and reiterates its commitment to promoting broadcasting pluralism and diversity in Somalia, as articulated in the African Charter on Broadcasting.