A good newspaper, I suppose, is a nation talking to itself
In Observer 26 November 1961
American dramatist, Arthur Miller 1915–2005
As the internet became a fact of daily life for many Somalis in the Diaspora, websites become much like storefronts on streets. Many Somali groups have been so quick to jump on the digital bandwagon; however, their offerings do not match favourably with their promises. Often, they offer no factual news or content.
I read many commentaries that have filled the media in recent months and I have noticed that Somali websites have been painted as warlord-hype sites. The potential is there to believe so; however, reality lags a bit.
WardheerNews, for instance, is well branded, informative, reliable, well laid-out, and easy to access website. Its homepage is crammed with offers from latest news, articles, to entertainment, and provides useful links. Indeed, it is one of the few websites that compensates for the dispersal of the Somali news because of the numerous clan-based websites.
WardheerNews editors give the website such eclecticism of style and image, which define the website. Cleverly, they pre-figured the instant hits as orders stream in online from the thousands of affluent Somali Diaspora Professionals who sit around browsing the web all day.
Roobdoon Forum has already noticed that WardheerNews has received numerous congratulatory messages from its contributors in which they all spoke highly of the site’s contributions to deepening mutual understanding and common goals within the Somalis. Therefore, I am very pleased to feature here the Forum’s insightful assessment of WardheerNews online. This piece is thus a tribute and reflects the consistency and faith of WardheerNews contributors. To us, the Roobdoon Forum, WardheerNews presents Somali news and thoughts with honesty and candour, at a time when it seems that our community succumbs to believing the lies dispersed by some media outlets. It publishes detailed news and articles about issues that concern the Somali community in general, Africa and the Islamic world affairs.
Sound reasons to visit the site
It became apparent from the fact that very few Somali websites, similar in scope as WardheerNews, appeared on the internet. The Web’s editorial aims are so laudable and so high, there is hardly any criticism to suggest. The variety and scope of this website go beyond news coverage and political commentary. Its selections incorporate and represent much of what numerous Somali websites fail to do.
For five years, WardheerNews has been giving an objective and balanced assessment of Somali life and political affairs. Its record, so far, is rich in memorable events. It has won a wide popularity, became an important source of information.
The sites’s main asset is its human resources, made up of proficient editors, reporters, and contributors, possessing an acute sense of patriotism, civil duty, and responsibility for their word and position. You never know what is going to happen in this website when you access it. You know that you are going to have, of course, the latest Somali news as well as very well written articles and Op-Ed pieces.
In its article-section, there are collections of timely thoughts from well-respected writers. The depth of its information goes further. It has archives a couple of years' worth of articles and features.
WardheerNews has carried stories about outstanding women from all walks of life, which has set good examples for Somali Diaspora women to learn from. On numerous occasions, the web has posted articles about Somali women’s experience and played an important role in promoting their awakening and progress.
Its editorial work covers versatile issues on Somalis, colossal work on vital problems solution, implementation of home and foreign policy, building-up of democratic legal state and open civil society.
Journalists can have their own point of view, but the vitality of the news lies with accuracy and factualness; and we as readers have full confidence in WardheerNews’ journalistic cause and its faithful fighters (reporters), who presented to the world with a true picture of Somalia. Nonetheless, Somalia is one of the countries that received the lowest freedom ratings. Independent non-governmental organizations, such as Freedom House and Amnesty International, have revealed the extent of the repression facing Somali journalists trying to report on the continuing conflict in Somalia, saying that “the threat to Somali journalists is now the worst it has been since the overthrow of the Siyad Barre government in 1991”.
Deputy Director of Amnesty International's Africa Programme, Michelle Kagari, said last year “Journalists who receive death threats are threatened with death, enforced disappearance or arrest if they do not remove their stories from the internet - a crude and brutal attack on their right to freedom of expression”.
Despite these inadmissible infringements on the journalists’ safety, WardheerNews’ contingents of journalists in Somalia are hardworking and honest.
In this anniversary, we, the Forum, share the joyousness of WardheerNews readership. Our special relationship with WardheerNews will remain strong and our articles will continue to feature on the front pages of its web. We know that its editors will take pride from the fact that their website has now become truly inter-continental in basing itself in North America, Africa, and Europe.
I hope WardheerNews will remain faithful to its traditions of neutrality on Somali affairs, proficiency, and civic duty; and hope that its ethic-work will be a worthy model of service to other Somali websites and many generations of its readers. Finally, my sincere congratulations to you, on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the most popular Somali website. Let us hope that WardheerNews will never have to look back.
A. S. Ismail
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