Bosaso, December 03, 2018: Over 20 Journalists drawn from the Puntland’s namely Karkaar, Bari and Sanaag regions on November 30, 2018 concluded a three-day training in safety, election coverage and conflict sensitive reporting workshop organized by the Media Association of Puntland (MAP) supported by the International Media Support (IMS).
Aimed at equipping journalists with essential safety skills and knowledge on the topics of election coverage and conflict sensitive reporting – the training covered modules featuring Digital Security, Situational awareness, Media and Security Forces, First aid, election related safety and security and KIMS game (Vehicle and Individual maneuver) and techniques/ethics on staying safety when reporting from conflict sensitive environments – the training was held from 28-30 November 2018 at the Jubba hotel located in Bosaso.
“I wish to start by thanking our partners International Media Support (IMS) who have supported the Somali media development initiatives, this includes the development of the recently launched Somali Journalist safety and protection manual, safety trainings and advocacy programs aimed at seeking safe and an enabling environment for Somali journalists” , added, the next three days we will be learning on how to stay safe and continue performing our duties, skills on election coverage and conflict sensitive reporting’ Said MAP chair Mohamed Dahir at his opening remarks of the workshop!
Puntland’s Deputy Minister of information, culture and heritage who spoke at the opening session described the the training as a timely and vital one, while he also urged the media to practice high ethical standards when carrying out their duties especially in the current political environment.
The media (journalists) have an important role to play in the upcoming indirect presidential elections January 08, 2019, when Puntland legislators will elect the next state’s leader. As a result of the contending interests, particularly among contesting candidates, journalists are likely to become targets of threats and physical attacks by political activists and hooligans simply for doing their work – putting out information about activities of candidates, could lead to violence, among others.
The trainees found the training course immensely rewarding and it allowed them to gain specific skills that will contribute to their safety and covering stories in complex context.
With support from the IMS, the Media Association of Puntland (MAP) has held capacity building seminars in Galkaio and now in Bosaso with over 40(forty) practicing journalists benefiting from the trainings, with topics such as conflict sensitive reporting, Election coverage and process and personal safety ahead of the Puntland’s Presidential election.
To ensure that Puntland Journalists carryout their duties safe and inform the public with credible information throughout this election period, MAP will hold a third election and safety training for Journalists in Garowe from 04-06 December 2018, supported by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).
MAP acknowledges that promoting the safety of journalists and fighting impunity must not be constrained to after-the fact action. As an alternative, it requires prevention mechanisms and actions to address some of the root causes of violence against journalists and of impunity.