When it comes to weddings, Somaliland has many approaches. Some couples stick with tradition while others go for more modern marriage ceremonies.
This film tells the story of two weddings, one in a small desert village and the other in a busy city, while highlighting everyday life in different parts of the country. It also contrasts traditional ways of life with modern ideas that come from younger Somalis and social media.
In the remote rural village of Toon, herder Jamalli Muhammad Ahmed can only marry a local woman called Hoda after first getting permission from her family. In a tradition going back generations, they all gather in the shade of a large tree to decide whether they are a suitable match. Only then can Jamalli and Hoda start planning their lives together.
Jamalli and Hoda’s wedding followed traditional Somali customs [Screengrab/Al Jazeera]
Abdullatif Deeq Omar in Hargeisa city, however, first met his future wife Najma on Facebook. They eloped but eventually returned to their families who accepted their marriage plans.
Abdullatif and Najma’s ceremony was in the city of Hargeisa [Screengrab/Al Jazeera]
Both weddings have the same pressures: buying outfits, inviting guests, finding a venue and arranging feasts – but each tells a unique story of family, community and tradition.
In Somali culture, many people also believe that getting married in the run-up to Ramadan ensures additional blessings on the couple, making the happy occasion even more special
Things look grim for independent journalism in Somalia. This can also be concluded from the country’s ranking in the World Press Freedom Index: close to the bottom of the list of 180 countries. Still, the local situation does vary from region to region. In the south in particular, journalists work in fear of their life. But in the country’s northern region, Somaliland, our team do everything in their power to support and train local Somali reporters.
Envelope full of money
A journalist is interviewing a politician or businessman. At the end, the interviewee offers the reporter an envelope full of money. And if he doesn’t, the reporter asks for one himself. In Somalia, this practice has a name: Sharuur. And virtually every journalist takes part in it. The result: nearly all media reports in the country are biased and distorted. After all, you don’t bite the hand that feeds you. This means that people in Somalia have next to no access to reliable and factual information.
Journalists in Somalia run tremendous risks. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, in the past four years alone, 21 reporters in Somalia were murdered and dozens arrested in the course of their work. Nevertheless, you can still find people in the country who want to report on what is really going on, people who have the courage to refuse the stuffed envelope. We bring them together, at a location where they are safe, and train them in objective reporting.
In addition to organising trainings, at the Media Training Centre we also produce three new editions per week of the news and current affairs programme Radio Hirad. This programme includes contributions from journalists trained at our Centre. The programme is broadcast by over 20 FM stations and websites. While most journalists in Somalia are mainly interested in reporting on political developments, Radio Hirad has a strong focus on social issues. Themes like health, the position of women and adolescents in society and migration feature prominently in the broadcasts. This way, we help people who are seldom heard to share their perspectives and bring sensitive yet important topics up for discussion.
In Somali culture, the name hirad is given to those who offer travellers safe shelter and food. Free Press Unlimited in turn wishes to support the hirads of the Somali media: the journalists who work to keep the public informed in this country torn by war and corruption.
Women and Media
During a training in 2015, a young woman told how she has to hide the fact that she is a reporter from her family. “My father doesn’t know that I’m here. He doesn’t know that I’m working as a journalist. If he did, he would forbid me from doing so.” Women are underrepresented in the Somali media. As a result, subjects that are specifically relevant to them get very little exposure. We try to attract female journalists to our trainings, and support them in their work. And our efforts are starting to bear fruit. Over the past year, many of the women whom we have trained at the Centre have moved up to the position of radio station manager and made a name for themselves as journalists.
Kenyan government official’s attempts to block a local art collective’s music video that had been uploaded to YouTube
Social media’s complex symbiotic relationship with mainstream media is still evident in powerful ways.
Somalia specialist Peter Chonka, for example, argues that the blurring of public and private boundaries inherent in the country’s social media environment can be disruptive. It has resulted in a lack of coherence in political communication by state actors
Not only have digital media and mobile phones created pathways for African entrepreneurs and consumers to access local and global networks with greater ease and speed, but the technological sector that supports digital media – from mobile phones to laptops and internet connections – has come to require a digital entrepreneurship that benefits from the creativity of African citizens.
Traditional and new media
Social media’s complex symbiotic relationship with mainstream media is still evident in powerful ways.
Somalia specialist Peter Chonka, for example, argues that the blurring of public and private boundaries inherent in the country’s social media environment can be disruptive. It has resulted in a lack of coherence in political communication by state actors. This further challenges their legitimacy. Tensions between traditional and modern forms of communication are reflected in the online clash of views over “appropriate” online content, moral values and perceived threats to national security.
Media scholar Brian Ekdale highlights the debates around “morality” in social media content. He researched a Kenyan government official’s attempts to block a local art collective’s music video that had been uploaded to YouTube. Ekdale then considers what this shows about the ongoing tensions between global media technology giants and local users and regulators on the continent
What is especially interesting is the way in which African users have found ways to adapt and appropriate digital and mobile media, for example, developing codes to communicate via mobile phone without using airtime – so-called ‘flashing’ or ‘beeping’ (calling and hanging up before the receiver can answer so as to avoid incurring a call cost).
While this creativity can be celebrated as an ingenious way for African users to adapt digital and mobile media to their own circumstances, it also points to the often exorbitant costs of airtime and data which are obstacles to the use of new media technologies in African countries. Airtime comes at such a high cost in South Africa, for example, that it is often offered as a prize in consumer competitions, or airtime vouchers are given as gifts or freebies.
The advent of digital media has turned the media landscape upside down. The news cycle moves at lightning speed, thanks to live tweeting, blogging and citizen journalism, all unknown just a few years ago.
To remain accessible, conventional media practitioners in Africa are adapting to a new media world that is time-sensitive and more interactive. Advocacy journalism, in particular, is growing exponentially—bloggers and citizen journalists are mobilizing for various causes, including good governance.
Although a lot has changed in media technology and operations over the last 15 years, society still looks to the media to play its traditional role—to inform, educate and entertain.
In Africa the media plays an even more critical role, that of deepening and institutionalizing democracy.
Citizens need to be informed as nations take on new responsibilities in a globalized world.
“Media plays an important role in buildding an informed society. Said shakir essa somali digital media and journalist news publisher at allafrica
Citizens need credible information from a media that can skillfully moderate debate and provoke meaningful conversations that can lead to transforming africa
the media must see itself as instrumental to ensuring and improving the quality of life in society.
<p class="has-drop-cap" value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">“Journalists see themselves as watchhdogs. Instead, I see the media as a leader. Watchdogs just sit down and watch, but a leader stands up and leads. You have to walk and work,” Mr. Chinje said in an interview with <em>Africa Renewal.</em> “Journalists see themselves as watchhdogs. Instead, I see the media as a leader. Watchdogs just sit down and watch, but a leader stands up and leads. You have to walk and work,” Mr. Chinje said in an interview with Africa Renewal.
Africa needs journalism that innovates and supports innovation in a modernizing continent, he says, one that not only grows, but promotes growth and the development of society. It needs journalism that not only generates the ideas that are the engine of social transformation, but also moderates the debates that emerge from these societal changes.
Digital media and journalism as a sector is evolving, and there are plenty of job opportunities in the field. However, Aspiring journalists have to build their experience and gather certain skill sets to thrive in the industry, said: shakir essa ( shakir is a somali digital media and journalist news publisher at allafrica
If you’re interested in starting (or growing) a career as a media in east africa, then you have a lot to learn from shakir essa
Shakir started his career in journalism as an intern at the allAfrica news website and quickly scaled through his career as a journalist, amplifying African voices and stories.
Shakir Essa on, July 6th,2016 for a 30-minute Facebook Live session where he’ll be discussing journalism ans digital media as a profitable career choice, and the skills aspiring journalists need to acquire.
Shakir essa is digital media publisher and PR consultant who is currently consulting at Media allAfrica news, as a radio producer, media relations trainer and digital journalism trainer. He also works as a volunteer youth mentor and freelance journalist.
Latest years shakir had a successful career at one of the africa leading international news sites and radio, the ALLAFRICA.
While working for AllAfrica, he works as trucking industries on Amazon prime in USA
Also he led several productions including creating digital content for younger audiences and news coverage of somali politics
In June 2016, he took one of the lead roles in setting up somalia and the breakaway region somaliland
For live broadcasting on social media His work helped direct the day to day running of the live broadcasting and training journalists on storytelling and social media skills.
Shakir Essa served as editor at allafrica news media and somali news tvs
The Shakir Essa Report, first aired January 2012, is a thirty-minutes, weekly report at allafrica on storytelling for African immigrant stories in northern Africa, Libya and Tunisia.
Shakir essa served as editor at allafrica news site’s,
Shakir Essa served as manager at Somali Journalist Association and Allafrica news editor
The winner represent the power of fearless reporting across Somalia, Ethiopia Djibouti and Kenta , Shakir is a digital media creator, news broadcaster, author and political analyser. He is the presenter of both africa times news (sub saharan africa) and Somali Journalist Association
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