Mogadishu, Fake news, misinformation, safety, and security of journalists were among key topics covered at a training workshop for 30 media practitioners from State and private media stations based in the Somalia capital, Mogadishu.
At the opening and closing ceremonies of the three day training, the Deputy Mayor of Mogadishu in Charge of Political and Security, Mohamed Ahmed Diiriye “Yabooh”, said the training was timely considering the widespread of misinformation in Somalia. He urged journalists to responsibly verify information to prevent conflicts from escalating.
“The safety and security of journalists and misinformation are very important issues of concern for the authorities. It is important for journalists to report factually and responsibly to ensure their work do not compromise their safety or cause conflict,” said the Deputy Mayor.
Organised by the Banadir Regional Administration (BRA) and supported by the African Union Transition Mission (ATMIS), the training focused on integrating media ethics and the principles of journalism while discussing fake news and its potential on conflict. Practical advice on self-protection in hostile conditions was also a key component.
“We know the media in Somalia face several challenges however while doing your job, you should also prioritise your personal safety and security. With the emergence of social media, fake news and misinformation continue to be a challenge in Somalia,” said Abdinasir IIdle, Banadir Regional Administration Director of Radio.
Veteran journalist with over four decades of experience, Ahmed Mohamud Dhiisow, spoke about the timeliness and working conditions of journalists in Somalia.
“I have attended about 45 media trainings however this one probably stands out for its relevance and practical knowledge sharing,” he said.
Maimuna Adan Agey, a reporter with Banadir Regional Administration radio, said following the training, she was now more aware of the long-term harm of fake news on society.
“The discussions on how to ensure my own safety and security while working in a hostile environment was very useful. The deliberations on misinformation and fake news was also interesting as now I am able to detect fake news and ensure my reports are factual,” said Maimuna.
The training is a collaborative effort between the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) and ATMIS to counter the spread of fake news and misinformation, tactics often employed by Al Shabaab terrorist group.