A training for Somali journalists on how to report COVID-19 related news and stories was launched today by the National Union of Somali Journalists NUSOJ and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).
The virtual workshop was designed to equip Somali journalists with essential skills for accurate and safe reporting on COVID-19. The training focused on how journalists can share information with the public on COVID-19 within the ambits of professional journalism, without compromising their own safety and wellbeing.
A total of 31 journalists from Mogadishu, Galmudug, Jubbaland, Southwest, Puntland and Hirshabelle attended the 3 hours training. The facilitators also shared good practices on how to ethically report on migrants and returnees’ issues.
“The journalists were taken through a step-by step approach to debunking and fighting myths, disinformation and misinformation around the pandemic,” said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General and who led the training.
Like many other countries, Somalia has suffered the spread of false information and rumours related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This type of training is crucial to ensure that the stories we see on the news are spreading accurate information while also contributing to shifting the negative narratives towards migration,” said Isaac Munyae, IOM’s Programme Manager.
Somali journalists are very familiar with conflict and post-conflict reporting, but the COVID-19 pandemic introduced new obstacles.
“This training was important and timely because in reporting on the COVID-19 pandemic, journalists faced two major challenges. They had to ensure their own safety and the one of those around them, while also bringing to their audiences the story of COVID-19 and its impacts on the community, in a professional and ethical manner. This training was a means to overcome those two challenges,” Osman added.
The training forms part of the wider collaboration between NUSOJ and IOM. The two organizations have jointly developed a toolkit for journalists to report on COVID-19 that will be launched at the end of March.
This activity was possible thanks to the generous funding from the European Union through the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration in the Horn of Africa programme.