With less than four months to presidential and parliamentary elections in Somalia, the African Union Mission In Somalia (AMISOM) is providing training to journalists to strengthen their skills in election reporting.
Journalists who attended a one-day workshop held on Saturday in Mogadishu, were taken through the basic principles of journalism, standards of accuracy, impartiality and qualities of good journalism.
The training is part of AMISOM’s mandate to support the Federal Government of Somalia to establish its state institutions.
Abdullahi Mohamed Hassan Black, a consultant who conducted the training said they had discussed the role of journalists in political campaigns and election reporting and public expectations of the media.
He asked the newsmen to be impartial and fair.
“I have learnt that the work of the journalist should be fair and should be well informed on the subject matter he or she is covering for the public to receive credible information,” said Kiin Omar Makaran, a journalist from Somali Cable TV who attended the session.
Print journalist Hassan Mustaf Issack echoed similar sentiments.
He said, “I am a journalist and the public expects credible information from me. The public listens to me on the radio or watches me on TV and they expect to receive credible information. If I had not this sort of training, I would not be able to pass on factual information. The audience expects election reports from me as some TV stations might go LIVE to report the current events as it happens. Some of the interesting stories that the public expects during elections are when a candidate steps down. It is a new development and the journalists should report it bit by bit as that will interest the public.”
AMISOM is organizing this and future training opportunities for Somali journalists, ahead of presidential and parliamentary elections, which are scheduled for September.