The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) and the United States Embassy in Mogadishu have partnered to empower both female and male Somali journalists, equipping them with essential skills to counter disinformation and champion quality, ethical journalism, all while ensuring they enjoy unfettered access to information.
This program, titled “Promoting high-quality journalism and unfettered access to information as key enablers for countering disinformation in Somalia,” facilitated the organization of a series of capacity-building activities in Mogadishu from November 22 to 24, 2023, in Garowe from January 14 to 16, 2024 and in Baidoa from January 16 to 18, 2024, benefiting a total of 101 journalists, including 44 women journalists, with 86% of them being young adult journalists.
During the training sessions, experienced journalists covered essential topics, including the qualities of a good journalist, accountability, combating disinformation and misinformation, professional reporting techniques, investigative journalism principles, critical thinking, access to information, fact-checking, legal protections for journalists, the essence of public interest journalism, verifying visual content and collaborative efforts to counter fake news.
Omar Faruk Osman, the Secretary General of NUSOJ, stated, “Thanks to our partnership with the U.S. Embassy in Mogadishu, we've made significant progress in addressing disinformation and harmful narratives. We've nurtured journalism that is professional, responsible, independent and committed to delivering the facts for the public's benefit. The journalists who participated in these training sessions are now equipped to combat disinformation and fake news, promoting reliable journalism that greatly benefits our nation.”
Journalists have acquired new skills and broadened their knowledge, thereby bolstering their capacity to generate trustworthy news. Furthermore, an increased awareness of the harmful impact of disinformation on society and the professional integrity of journalists has been achieved. These journalists have demonstrated a renewed dedication to honesty and accountability in their reporting as they are now better equipped to verify information accurately, safeguarding their right to report freely and responsibly.
“Quality journalism is our shield against disinformation, as it shines the light of truth through its unwavering dedication to facts, accuracy and responsibility in an age filled with falsehoods,” emphasized Osman.
NUSOJ, in its dedication to fortify a free, professional and flourishing media environment in Somalia through partnerships such as the one with the US Embassy, has not only raised the bar for credible journalism but has also empowered Somali journalists to lead the charge against disinformation, misinformation and fake news, thereby advancing professional excellence.