Mogadishu, Wednesday, February 23, 2022: Thirty journalists have concluded a three-day training in Mogadishu on improving the capacity of the journalists and the media to defuse hate speech during the Somalia elections through peace messages.
The training implemented in partnership with the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) has been held from 21st to 23rd February 2022 at Sahafi Hotel in Mogadishu, Somalia.
In opening remarks, Farah Omar Nur, Secretary-General of FESOJ, indicated the training would focus on awareness-raising through peace messages.
“The intention is to prepare and release peace messages for community awareness-raising to defuse hate speech during and after the elections through the various media channels. In that case, I request the State media also release the peace messages in addition to the independent private media.” Farah Omar Nur, Secretary-General, stated at the opening session.
I am pleased to see the journalists operational in Mogadishu.
I urge the journalists to base their professional services on serving the public interest. The media should avoid transferring messages that divide the nation. Abdullahi Hayir Ducale, Director General of the Ministry of Information, said.
“As Ministry of Information, we welcome FESOJ peace messages to be released through the State Media such as Radio Mogadishu, Somali National TV and the Somali National News Agency (SONNA).” Abdullahi Hayir Ducale, Director General of the Ministry of Information, said accepting FESOJ request.
Speaking at the opening ceremony through Skype Video link, Valerie Msoka, Deputy Chief of SCPAG, UNSOM, pointed out the training is intended to empower the journalists in defusing the use of hate speech during and after the Somalia elections; which will eventually promote the peace process and the stability for the Somali community. She advised the journalists to be accurate, objective and truthful during their reporting.
During the three–day training sessions, all the participants were taken through the key topics on the disagreement that could arise during the indirect elections, how to identify hate content, understand its assumptions, biases and prejudices and encourage arguments to confront, preparing peace messages and describing their importance during the indirect elections, countering hate speech, disinformation/misinformation during elections, how clips of peace messages could be practically produced and transmitted, ethical use in conflict-sensitive reporting in the media and collecting and delivering 30 peace messages that will be released in the media programs for three months.
Furthermore, the participants have discussed how to identify and question hateful content and how to counter hate speech, disinformation/misinformation and the best techniques to prepare peace messages when to transmit
In his closing remarks, Abadir Abdulkadir Elmi, Chairman of FESOJ, has appreciated UNSOM for conducting the three–day training program to upgrade the capacity of the journalists and the media to combat hate speech. He also thanked the trainers for facilitating the training program,
“Hate speech could cause problems for the community, and the journalists are required not to give up spreading the peace messages for the good of the public.” Abadir Abdulkadir Elmi, FESOJ Chairman pointed out.
Farah Omar Nur, the Secretary-General of FESOJ, has appreciated the training program participants. They intended to reduce hate speech and the need for journalists to stand out for being vigilant against the abuse and threatening speech.
“The produced peace messages will further be edited and transmitted through the radio, TVs and social media for wide public outreach.” Farah Omar Nur, FESOJ Secretary-General, explained.
On his part, Professor Abdishakur from the Civil Society has advised the journalists to avoid hate speech fake news and transfer verified and accurate information to the public. Furthermore, he pointed out that journalists should report the misconduct but have clear evidence.
Faduma Abukar, a female journalist’s participant working in Mogadishu, pointed out she has benefited much from the training, which is the first type of training coming at the right time needed and has learned how to be watchful against hate speech and confront through ethical professionalism.
Mohamed Shaa’ir, one of the participating journalists, has indicated to have learned the role of the media in reducing divisive language that could lead to the escalation of hate speech.