Organised under the theme “Promoting Ethics, Achieving Fairness and Empowering Women Journalists in Somalia” the workshop brought together more than 55 journalists from all regions of Somalia given that the media in Somalia plays a central role in gender stereotyping. NUSOJ representatives highlighted the fact that media production on all levels including news and TV programs have not made a breakthrough in gender mainstreaming and achieving a gender sensitive and balanced language. Moreover, capacity development and provision of secure environments for female journalists in Somalia have remained a challenge.
The national workshop was officiated by the Federal Minister for Women and Human Rights Development, H.E. Deqa Yasin Hagi Yusuf, who applauded the increasing number of women journalists and emphasised the importance of women journalists to hold senior positions in the media together with the need to ensure adherence to ethical standards of the profession. “it is vital to increase the understanding of gender equality and women’s empowerment in and through media of all forms, by changing the language used by the journalists to become gender-sensitive. We are devoted to help and protect female journalists”.
IFJ President Younes Mjahed who is on an official visit to Somalia addressed the national workshop. “IFJ’s commitment to gender parity and women’s empowerment is pursued through a gender-specific internal structure and gender mainstreaming in all of its programmatic activities. We are here to express our undivided solidarity to Somali journalists, especially women journalists, who bear the brunt of discriminations and harassment”.
Speaking on behalf of African journalists, Sadiq Ibrahim Ahmed, President of the Federation of African Journalists (FAJ) congratulated NUSOJ and its member journalists for standing up to gender injustice and securing the space and rights of journalists. “Journalism is practiced by both women and male journalists. We must empower our female colleagues. It’s impossible to attain justice for journalists without achieving justice for female journalists”.
“In this country, there are more women in journalism but Somali women journalists are marginalised in the news both in the content of the jobs they do and in the available opportunities, they have to make their way in the profession. Fair gender portrayal is a professional and ethical aspiration that we are committed to promote, similar to respect for accuracy, fairness and honesty” said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General. “Journalism has its roots in the fight for decency, progress and rights for both female and male journalists”.
Speaking on the occasion, Pusparaj Mohanty, the representative from UN Women, emphasized the criticality of media and journalism as the fourth pillar in a progressive democracy along with the legislative, executive and judiciary. He called upon the media institutions in Somalia to bridge the gender gap in the fabric of the media sector, build the capacity of female journalists and ensuring a safe and secure environment for the female journalists in the country. Pusparaj also assured of UN Women support in achieving agenda of gender sensitive journalism in Somalia.
The national workshop adopted an action plan and declaration that spelled out a set of actions to be implemented across the country to insure gender responsive journalism.