16 November 2012

Somalia: IFJ and NUSOJ Conducted Safety Training for Journalists in Mogadishu

press release

The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) in cooperation with the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today concluded in Mogadishu a first-ever international safety training for Somali journalists in the country's capital city, Mogadishu.

Somalia, particularly Mogadishu has been hotspot for journalists where several journalists were murdered cold-bloodedly and the journalists of Somalia emerged as the most risked journalists in Africa, according to the IFJ records. 15 journalists ( 8 women and 7 male professionals) working for broadcast and print media of Mogadishu benefited from this safety training by internationally renowned, UK based, safety trainer.

"We are satisfied to have provided the necessary safety training to our colleagues in Somalia and would be happy to do it again to protect the lives of the hundreds of young journalists who risk their lives to get the news to the Somali people and to the world." said Gabriel Baglo, Director of the Africa Office of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ).

Journalist were equipped with skills on operational media safety planning, risk assessment, travel safety awareness, personal media safety, land mines & explosive devises prevention, public disorder and riot management, ballistic protection, kidnap and abduction awareness as well as locally adopted safety awareness based on the current security situation in Mogadishu and related life-threatening dangers.

"The training is unique support and practical solidarity for endangered journalists of Somalia. Taking practical actions to help protect the life of journalists by training Somali journalists in their own local environment to protect themselves and remain safe while doing their professional is very important," said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General.

The workshop which was financed by the European Union under its European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) is the first training on safety of journalists organized in Mogadishu and provided badly needed safety skills.

These journalists are working in an extreme conflict zones with risk from small arms attacks, Improvised Explosive Devices and explosive threat, harassment and physical attack, and the ever increasing risk of murder, kidnapping and abduction.

The safety training was specific and unique to current threats in Somalia, the course was designed on previous risk and threat journalists have faced in recent years.

Participants expressed their gratitude to have gained such safety training in the early stage of their career as they have witnessed many of their colleges killed in the line of duty without such safety knowledge.

Some of the participants who attended the course were actual victims of suicide and small arms attacks in recent months including a young frontline female journalist. They explained that they are now better prepared to face the ongoing risks that are associated with daily newsgathering in an extreme conflict environment such as Somalia. The course has embedded a positive train of thought to pass on this safety information to their colleges and start creating a safety culture within their own media organizations.

IFJ is the first international press freedom advocacy organization and global union federation that put its feet in Mogadishu, Somalia, since when the deadly attacks on journalists started in 2007. IFJ last visited Mogadishu in 2005 during the General Assembly of NUSOJ.

For more information, please contact IFJ: +221 33 867 95 86

The IFJ represents over 600.000 journalists in 134 countries.

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