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Somalia: Puntland’s president launches new police station, other projects in Burtinle

The president of Somalia’s semi-autonomous state of Puntland on Saturday inaugurated a new police station in Burtinle town in the country’s Nugal region.

The construction of the police station was funded by Somalia Stability Fund, a multi-donor fund working towards a peaceful, secure and stable Somalia.

The new police station is expected to help the Puntland government improve public services as well as support peace and stability in the state.

The new facility will also ensure that police forces in the district have access to a decent and conducive working environment.

Speaking at the event, Puntland President Saed Abdullahi Deni said: “It is a great honour to be here with you today in Burtinle, the backbone of our state. I am really pleased with the progress this town has made. This progress was achieved through the joint efforts of the public and the district administration

“I would like thank Burtinle residents and the people of Puntland… for their hard work in helping this and other towns move forward.”

President Deni also launched a number of other development projects in Burtinle, including a new link road and office blocks for use by the district administration.

Burtinle is one of the fastest-growing towns in Somalia’s Puntland region.





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Somalia: Barawe’s new modern airport to open soon

The construction of Barawe Airport in South West State of Somalia (SWS) is wrapping up and the facility is set to be opened soon.

The airport was launched by the SWS regional government with the technical and financial support of the Somalia Stability Fund (SSF).

It will serve the entire south west region and other Somali regions.

Finishing touches are being done.  A road linking the airport to the town has also been constructed.

The project is part of the Somali government’s strategic plan to build and rehabilitate critical infrastructure as the nation moves towards stability.

Barawe is the designated administrative capital of South West State.

The government says the airport will speed up the country’s recovery and is a sign of a bright future.

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Somali business owners participate in first-of-its-kind Kismayo Trade Fair

A trade fair organised by a leading Somali non-governmental organisation has taken place in Kismayo, the capital of the country’s southern Jubbaland regional state.

The African Development Solutions (Adeso Africa) facilitated the Kismayo Trade Fair, the first of its kind in the region, in partnership with the Jubbaland Ministry of Trade and Chamber of Commerce.

The fair took place under Adeso’s Enhancing Youth Employment (EYE) project.

The trade was aimed at strengthening “value chain opportunities for the communities targeted by the EYE project in existing and innovative ventures in productive sectors, Adeso Africa said.

The fair, which opened on 26 March, offered Somali businesses in Jubbaland a platform to promote their goods and services.

Participants drawn from Bardheere and Afmadow as well Kismayo took part in trade show.






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The Somalia Stabilization Initiative: Interactive theater for community & government interaction

The Somalia Stabilization Initiative (SSI) is working in Jubbaland State and South West State to help extend the presence of effective state authority in the regions and strengthen reconciliation initiatives.

Working with SSI,  Star Media Development Centre (SMDC) conducted an interactive theater in Warmahan, Wanlaweyn and Tixsiile in Somalia’s southern Lower Shabelle region  to help community members meet and share ideas irrespective of one’s economic, social, and political status in the society.

The theater was part of SSI’s efforts to support the office of the Lower Shabelle governor and the three communities to discuss common concerns in a creative way, and to also provide a platform for community and government interaction.

SMDC conducted a comprehensive interactive theater for the three communities through the use of radio drama, community interactive theater, PSAs, and radio Vox Pops.

SMDC conducted a two-day interactive theater in each of the three towns; Warmahan, Tixsiile, and Wanlaweyn (a total of 6 days) so as to create an interactive space to discuss common issues and concerns. The interactive theater included; public performances in a concert style format inclusive of plays, dramas, songs, poems, music etc.

SMDC also produced and disseminated five radio dramas from the interactive theater, five radio Vox Pops and five Public Service Announcements (PSAs) with participants drawn from youth, women, and regional and local administration officials.

We involved key local influential people to carry our message during the interactive theater and when producing the VOX POP and PSA to increase the number of people coming to the theater as well as the listener-ship.

Photo by Mustafa Ali

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Concerns raised over use of online live streaming

UK digital minister Margot James has raised concerns about the regulation of online live streaming in the aftermath of the New Zealand shootings, in which an alleged terrorist broadcast footage of an attack on two mosques live on Facebook.

James, whose department is preparing to unveil the government’s proposals on tackling online harms, said she was unhappy that footage of the attack, which could never be allowed on traditional television channels, was easily available on social media.

“The tragic events in New Zealand last week have highlighted more issues, not least the ease with which intrusive, deeply offensive and very harmful content which contravenes every known broadcasting standard could be broadcast with such ease to a global audience,” she said.

“During the first 24 hours after this tragedy Facebook now say they removed 1.5m videos,” she told the Oxford Media Convention. “1.2m were blocked at the point of upload – that’s good. That still left 300,000 shares unchecked for too long. The impact that has really does call into question the future of live streaming.”

New Zealand’s prime minster, Jacinda Ardern, has called for talks with Facebook about how the video was allowed to remain on its server for up to an hour after the attack and what it did to stop the spread of the footage. The original copy attracted hundreds of thousands of views in a short period of time before being removed, at which point it was repeatedly re-uploaded by other users.

Facebook took the unusual step of releasing statistics on the number of uploads it has had to deal with in the aftermath of the attack, while confirming it would remove all videos featuring any clips of the terrorist’s video, even if they do not show footage of the killings themselves.

James suggested platforms had a responsibility, especially around the livestreaming of events. Facebook’s Live video platform has gained a reputation for hosting videos of murders and suicides since it was introduced for all users in 2016.

She said the government’s policy on media regulation was to attempt to bring regulation of internet media in line with the systems applied to traditional media. She said: “There are limits to total freedom of expression which apply offline, which need to apply to online urgently.

“The respected and effective systems of self and statuary regulation – and high journalistic standards – that have always been applied to the verification and sources of story, is of course entirely absent from the online platform environment.”

Source: The Guardian

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Somalia’s Jubbaland State holds stakeholder forum on good governance

A stakeholder forum on the role of Somali citizens and government in promoting good governance has taken place in Kismayo, the capital of Somalia’s southern Jubbaland State.

The forum, organised on the theme ‘Role of Somali Citizens and Government in Good Governance’, brought together relevant stakeholders from the Jubbaland State government, regional parliament, representatives from youth and women groups as well local civil society organisations and religious leaders.

The forum was organised by the Jubbaland State government with support from the Somalia Stability Fund (SSF), a multi-donor fund working towards a peaceful, secure and stable Somalia.

By hosting the meeting, the Jubbaland State government said it hoped that the one-day consultation facility will help promote and improve good governance, accountability and transparency in both Jubbaland and Somalia as a whole.

The event, which featured a number of high-level speakers from Jubbaland State ministries, parliament, and civil society organisations, was televised on Star Television Network (STN).

During his remarks, Jubbaland Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Adam Ibrahim Aw-Hirsi noted that Somalia’s progress towards stability and development depended largely on good governance.

He said: “Good governance is about strengthening the relationship between the government and the citizens. It is also about maintaining law and order as well the existence of mutual respect and trust between the citizens and the government.”

In In particular, Mr. Aw-Hirsi emphasised the critical role of civic education in promoting good governance in Jubbaland and rest of Somalia.

“I believe civic education can play a critical role in informing Somali citizens about the government work and policies,” he said.

Speaking at the event, Jubbaland Member of Parliament Mohamed Mohamud Farah encouraged mainstream Somali media to hold and facilitate more such public dialogue on good governance in the country.

“I would like to ask TV stations in Jubbaland to facilitate forums such as this and not just wait for the government,” he said.

Kismayo-based lawyer and activist Abdullahi Abdiqadir Adan said civil society organisations and political parties were key players in fostering and nurturing good governance in Somalia.

A special segment of the programme included participants sharing their points of view and questions about the theme.

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2018: A dark year for press freedom

This statement was originally published on on 21 December 2018.

Around the world press freedom faced a litany of attacks in 2018, as political leaders unwilling to accept scrutiny increasingly jail, prosecute or undermine the credibility of critical journalists. As many as 78 journalists were killed in 2018, according to the International Press Institute (IPI)’s Death Watch, as scores of murders in previous years remain mired in impunity.

“There is a growing movement, including in countries once seen as guarantors of fundamental rights, aimed at destroying the press as an institution of democracy”, IPI Executive Director Barbara Trionfi said. “This atmosphere of intolerance toward independent journalism is putting the lives and freedom of journalists at risk and threatening the public’s right to know.”

IPI, a global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists for media freedom, has been compiling annual data on the killings of journalists since 1997 as part of its press freedom and safety of journalist programmes.

The Death Watch data for 2018 show that as many as 28 reporters and journalists were killed in targeted attacks during the year, while 11 died covering armed conflict. Mexico and Afghanistan were the deadliest countries for journalists were overall, with 13 deaths each.

Impunity for crimes against journalists remained at a shockingly high level in 2018. Prominently, Saudi Arabia has refused to hold those responsible for the gruesome murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi to account, while Slovak authorities have yet to arrest the mastermind behind the murder of investigative journalist Ján Kuciak in February.

“Governments around the world are dragging their feet in investigating murders of journalists”, IPI Head of Advocacy Ravi R. Prasad said. “Investigations in a large number of cases are slow and tardy, due in many cases to a lack of political will to bring the killers and perpetrators to justice.”

Despite a small decrease in the number of journalists killed compared to the previous year, 2018 witnessed an overall decline in the state of press freedom worldwide amid a trend of increased harassment and intimidation of journalists and attacks on independent media.

With 159 journalists in prison and many more being prosecuted for doing their work, Turkey remains the world’s top jailer of journalists. The country’s crackdown on independent media widened in 2018 with the arrests of 46 more reporters, mostly on spurious terrorism-related charges. As in Turkey, where most media outlets have been bought up by businesses close to the ruling AK Party, in Hungary independent media are increasingly encircled by a state media machine and are being starved of advertisement revenue.

In Myanmar two Reuters journalists were convicted and sentenced for violating the Official Secrets Act while the Philippine government has sought to silence IPI Free Media Pioneer Rappler by charging founder Maria Ressa with tax evasionBangladesh, Russia and Cambodia are just a few examples of countries that have introduced controversial legislation on “fake news” that threatens press freedom.

In Africa, journalists came under attack by security forces in Uganda and Zimbabwe, while in Tanzania editors and journalists turned to self-censorship as the government escalated its clampdown on critical media.The Egyptian government refused to release prize-winning photojournalist Shawkan despite a court order. It also arbitrarily extended the detention of Al Jazeera’s Mahmoud Hussein, who has been jailed for over 700 days without charges. The whereabouts of another noted journalist, Ismail Alexandrani, are unknown.

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SMDC organises competition to promote fish consumption in Kismayo, Somalia

The first-ever fish cooking competition held in the southern Somali coastal city of Kismayo attracted more a dozen participants as part of an awareness campaign to significantly increase local fish consumption.

Participants from the city’s five neighbourhoods – Guul-wade, Farjano, Calanley, Fanoole, and Shaqaalaha -tried their hand at cooking fish in the competition held on 24 December 2018.

The contest, organised by Star Media Development Centre (SMDC), was won by Luul Mohamed Guure from Kismayo’s Alanley neighbourhood. She was awarded a prize consisting of a certificate and a trophy.

The contest was part of an effort by German development agency GIZ to raise awareness about the nutritional values of eating fish.

Alanley administrator Osman Farah Bando said participants were a role model for other women in Kismayo.

“You must now impart these skills you have acquired in others so that they can benefit as well,” he said.


Before the competition, several short radio dramas in Somali, TV and radio talk-shows, public service announcements and roadshows conducted by SMDC highlighted the nutritional values of fish, focusing on the benefits for returning refugees, internally displaced persons & vulnerable residents of Kismayo.

Although Somalia has the longest coastline in Africa, after Madagascar, fish consumption remains low and fish is not part of most people’s diet.

The awareness campaign, dubbed ‘Dish on Fish’, was aimed at encouraging families living in and around Kismayo to start including fish in their diets. The campaign was also aimed at raising awareness about the nutritional benefits of eating fish and appropriate methods for preparing and preserving fish among returning refugees, internally displaced persons & vulnerable residents of Kismayo.

The campaign caught the attention of the population and even encouraged beneficiaries and participants to change their eating habits.


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