Independent Media fenced off from Sweden Funded Media Programme
Somalia’s independent media has today voiced unreserved disappointment and astonishment about activities of Danish and Swedish organisations who are executing so-called media development project in Mogadishu.
The Danish IMS and Swedish FOJO have in the past weeks conspired with self-proclaimed media houses owners’ association, Somali Independent Media Houses Association –SIMHA, to train journalists on safety and elections in the name of independent media.
Shabelle Media Network, leading independent radio and television network in Somalia, and many more independent radio stations in Mogadishu and across Somalia are not members of self-appointed SIMHA. FOJO and IMS nonetheless sponsored training in complicity of fictitious outfit in the name of “Somalia” media owners to train journalists on safety & elections reporting.
Radio Shabelle journalists who are greatest menace exposed journalists were fenced off from this training and other training activities organised by IMS and FOJO because Radio Shabelle broadcasts independent and critical reporting which is not adored by government.
Shabelle Media Network is disgusted to learn they were discriminated from such safety and elections training because of Shabelle’s independent journalism which is not under control or influence of government authority.
Discrimination on basis of independent views of journalists and critical media reporting is prohibited in western countries who claim to promote independent media, media freedom and freedom of expression.
But this discrimination is now existing in Somalia but hardly pronounced. Journalists hitherto criticised IMS and FOJO programme funded by Embassy of Sweden in Kenya for supporting only few media outlets that are preferred by outgoing government or persons close to government while dismissing & excluding independent voices in mainstream Somalia media. Shabelle Media Network lost 13 journalists killed in 9 years.
It was shut down 4 times by government whereas its reporters were arrested several times. Yet IMS and FOJO is spending Sweden funding by discerning the imperilled leading independent media and opinionated journalists resisting from government’s coercion.
Danish and Swedish organisations favour self-appointed, government-recommended media owner’s association.