Oct 13, 2012

Reading



By Ismail Warsame
Everyone knows that Somalia is the most dangerous place to be a journalst but why? People assume that the only reason is that because Somalia is a dangerous place. Jamal Osman brings to light what we have known all along: how journalism is practiced in Mogadishu and corruption in particular is the main reason journalists are killed:

The difference in Somalia is that bad practice can lead to a journalist's death.
Corruption is part and parcel of the Somali media. Journalists don't normally ask themselves if a story is important or interesting. It is about how much money they can get from their sources to publish it. It's known locally as sharuur, and it's a form of bribery.
The sad reality is that such behaviour can be witnessed on a regular basis. Something I often say to fellow Somali journalists is that we were meant to expose corruption; instead, we are the bad guys.
It's common to see Somali journalists getting paid at press conferences. Once the talk is finished, they queue up to collect their cash. And you can even hear the press conference organisers instructing them how to present the story.
It is uncomfortable for us journalist to point the finger at the our colleagues but for the sake of our the journalists as much as the public they should be informing truthfully we need to be talking about this in the open. 

Crisis Group: Assessing Turkey's role in Somalia by Abdirashid Hashi

I'm biased, I like Crisis Group's work: their field studies are well informed particularly on Somalia. This report is timely because Turkey had played a prominent and unexpected role in Somalia last year, specially in helping to relieve the famine. 

But Turks had promised much more, they pledged to build roads and hospitals and help rebuild Somalia's military. It took them a while to figure out that it wasn't easy getting things done through a corrupt and incompetent government but now that that government is gone what are they going to do? How are they going to deal with Somalia's neighbors who see Somalia as their "project"? The report goes into it all.  You can read the summary or download the full report. 

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