The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) in cooperation with the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has concluded a two-day workshop on freedom of expression and safety of journalists in Mogadishu with the aim of building the capacity of young journalists to better understand the right to freedom of expression whilst improving journalist safety and security.
“Training on Freedom of Expression and Safety of Journalists” held on 24-25 December 2018 at Mogadishu’s Peace Hotel brought together 25 young journalists from different media houses in Mogadishu who benefited from this training to get first hand training on international and regional instruments and norms that protect freedom of expression, as well as legal rights of journalists in exercising their fundamental rights and the internationally accepted restrictions on freedom of expression, which must be consistent with the fundamental principles found in the Universal declaration of human rights and international covenant on civil & political rights.
During the training, the journalists learned basic safety issues for journalists, including physical and online threats as well as trauma issues, and options available to them in the cases of danger whilst going out for their journalism work and ways to encrypt emails or phone calls in order to protect their sources as well as protecting their social media accounts.
“This programme is intended to assist young female and male journalists in applying realistic and practical knowledge to improve safety and security while carrying out their professional duties and to enable them to understand the international and regional standards that protect freedom of expression,” said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General.
The workshop comes at a time when young journalists are exposed to life-threatening risks with little or no relevant training and mounting pressures to censor when they are reporting on tragedies, conflicts and unsavoury issues, even in the social media.
Participants who attended the workshop called for more security and personal safety measures from the government and its opponents. Ethics and rights of the profession were also thoroughly discussed during working groups in relation to the basic rule on personal safety of journalists.
Journalists made several recommendations for NUSOJ to consider including the need to hold same training for law enforcement personnel and relevant government officials to end dominant impunity.