Sunday, October 9, 2011

Suicide bombings demoralize journalists in Somalia.

By Mohamed Olad Hassan. 
MOGADISHU (FESOJ) –The Tuesday’s truck suicide bomber that killed more than 70 people, majority of them students, who gathered to check exam results and their accompanying parents, did not only shocked the world but also demoralized Somali journalists, who always cover the news and the stories of often dangerous terrain Mogadishu.
The previous similar incident that targeted a graduation ceremony in Mogadishu in 2009 killed more than 20 people, including three journalists and four government ministers.

In these latest dreadful outrage journalists, Abdulkadir Mohyadin a camera man for the Somali National Television (SNTV) and Ali Hassan known as Ali Hiiraan who works for the Universal Television, not only as a journalist but also as a comedian, sustained slight injuries on one hand each. The two journalists were hit by flying shrapnel.

Whenever an explosion of suicide bomber targets gathering and events it is most likely that journalists become among the casualties due to their work that inspires them to be present and report such events.

 Several journalists who work for the international media outlets who spoke to the FFESOJ office in Mogadishu, showed fear for their life, and said “if such suicide bombings continue, they will think about seeking refuge in the neighboring countries”.

 One other issue that demoralizes the journalists is that they are not paid well, despite working in an environment that foreign journalists are not allowed to operate on a regular basis.
Media owners both inside and outside Somalia abuse the Somali journalists rights by offering them very low payments and putting a heavy and dangerous work duty on them, including taking pictures from the frontlines.

“To avoid accountability foreign media offers Somali journalists stringer positions with a salary as low as $500 and order them to work hard and send daily, reports and images in the believe that they can take advantage of three things; first, the fact that the journalists are in need of jobs to survive because there is no other option or work availability in the country, second, they will not think about insurance or compensation if the journalists die in the line of duty and third is that they can immediately sack him if he or she asks payment increase or promotion” said the chairman of the Federation of Somali Journalists, Mohamed Olad Hassan.

He also condemned the foreign media outlets policies and their treatments with the Somali journalists.

He called for the media owners to respect the humanity and deal with their reporters in the hostile environment similar to how they treat with their journalists in the stable countries.

FESOJ office in Mogadishu
+25261-5540001 FESOJ Deputy Chairman Mohamed Ibrahim
Mohamed Olad Hassan, FESOJ Chairman
5770 Dunster Court 372
Alexandria, VA 22311
Cell: +15712167331

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SOJANET members. Kampala, Uganda.