African journalists have agreed on the need to focus on success stories by the African Union Mission for Somalia (AMISOM) and that of ordinary Somali people such as reconstruction efforts.
This was one of the recommendations as African journalists and AMISOM officials concluded a two-day conference on the role of communications and media in peace support operations.
It was also agreed that the mission should dedicate a substantial percentage of its budget to capacity building for Somali journalists and establish closer communication links with the media in Somalia.
Nine journalists were killed and 16 others injured since January, this year.
In terms of AMISOM's success stories, Basile Gateretse, who represented the AMISOM head of mission, told The New Times that the security perspective is noteworthy.
"The Al-Shabaab have been weakened, very seriously. AMISOM is training Somali forces and integrating them. There is a barracks specialised for training Somali forces," he said.
Al-Shabaab is an extremist Islamist group that has links to the global terror group Al-Qaeda, and has been responsible for holding Somali people at ransom as well as claiming responsibility for a series of terror attacks in the region.
"Politically, there is tremendous progress, especially when you consider the adoption of the provisional constitution by the constitutional assembly, inauguration of the parliament, elections of the speaker and the deputy speaker."
Gateretse explained that in terms of reconstruction, AMISOM has built roads, schools, the parliament buildings, a training centre for the public service, water wells, and others.
Somalia has not had a stable government for over 20 years and the headway by the AU mission, which is composed mainly of Ugandan and Burundian forces, has been seen as a beacon of hope for the Horn of Africa nation.
"When you look for example, at the flow of movement at the airport today, there are more flights, I think, than in some African airports," he said.
Nonetheless, he admits that challenges remain.
These, include: building "a strong Somali security apparatus" - police and army and reducing the number of infiltrations of Al Shabaab militia.in Mogadishu,
"I also hope that the elections of the President in the very near future are carried out smoothly. Another issue is making public service able to carry out its normal operations," Gateretse said.
According to Khalid Mohamed, a Somali editor, AMISOM has helped build three hospitals and it provides security to government officials.
Meanwhile, early this week, AMISOM killed 42 members of the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Al-Shabaab and injured scores of others as the former attacked Algibah near Somalia's port city of Kismayu.
Pro-government troops are currently moving in on the strategic port town of Kismayu as fighting continues in places between the provincial town of Afmadow and Kismayu, 500 kilometres south of Mogadishu.
On Tuesday, Amisom edged closer to seizing Kismayu after the capture of Marka, the third largest port in southern Somalia. Marka is situated about 110 km south of Mogadishu.