Somali Civil Society says the key to success is support. Until Somalia gets the support it needs journalists will continue to leave the country. They want a career where they are not forced to cover or not to cover events that concern the citizens of Somalia.
Some of the general statistics on Somalia are as follows.
1. The capital of Somalia is Mogadishy
2. The population as of July 2011 was 9,925,640
3. The religions practiced in Somalia is Sunni Muslim.
4. The official language of Somalia is Somali. Other language used is Arabic, Italian and English.
5. The literacy rate in Somalia is 49.7% for men and 25.8% for females.
6. The president of Somalia is Transitional Federal President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmedn.
The civil war in Somali for the prior twenty years destroyed the Somali press as journalists left the county. They went to the United States and Europe looking for not only employment but security as well. When the majority of journalists left there were only two papers left in operation the Xog-Ogaal and the Dalka. Xog-Ogaal is a privately owned newspaper while the Dalka is state ran.
According to the Media Sustainability Index (MSI) of 2012 politics in Somalia have changed dramatically. The country has been relatively calm, yet in 2012 there were at least six journalists killed. Prosecutors still have not identified the gunmen and as such has caused others to leave the country in fear of their lives.
What little peace there is has given the media a little improvement it is still not enough. In Puntland the government itself is continuing to harass the media. Other institutions that support media are basically non-existent. There are no laws to govern protection of the media and the civil laws are not followed.
When it comes to women there is very little media representation. Women are relegated to just reading the news and if they work for the media they are put into correspondent positions.
While the printed media does not seem to be doing so good radio is growing. There have been numerous new stations coming on air. There has also been the first state television network start since the previous regime collapsed. While this television network is watched in urban areas private satellite television has grown in other areas.
While the number of newspaper is only two there are twenty radio stations and three television stations. The circulation for newspapers is estimated at 800 for the Xog-gaal and 500 for the Qaran. Television covers approximately 1500 households that watch television.
Because of the chaos that has governed Somalia journalists lack the basics to do their job. They lack:
3. Professional Ethic
While opportunities are returning they are not returning fast enough. Somalia’s MSI has stayed basically unchanged from the MSI score in 2010. Journalists self-censor themselves as they are still afraid for not only their life but that of their family. Government is still ordering journalists to stop covering events.
Journalist lack equipment in order to transmit over large areas and owners have no incentive to purchase new equipment. Until they are not afraid of loosing their equipment they will not buy any as they cannot afford to invest in better equipment.
Since media agencies will not invest in better or more equipment the journalists remain low paid. With threats of harm, poor equipment, and little pay it is no wonder journalists fled the country. They are looking for better careers along with safety for themselves and their family. It is only journalists whom work for international agencies that earn decent wages.
Somalia does have a little diversity in news sources. With new media sources citizens are becoming more aware of current events. Most of the news media dos rely on the internet to get the news spread. It is the citizens who live in urban areas that receive better coverage.
One of the main problems with the media being harassed and forced to not cover an event citizens get conflicting reports of what is happening. This causes a lot of confusion among the country. Yet, it seems that the public is listening to the warnings on security issues. If the media reports that a security sweep is going to take place in a certain area the citizens do avoid that area.
While there are no laws governing the import or distribution of media equipment there are still barriers of economic isolation because of the chaotic security that is taking place in many areas. Those that do support the private sector still give levels of service that are both erratic and ineffective. This causes a lot of employee turnover. As Somali Civil Society states support is the key for success.