Somaliland:SOLJA and VIKES jointly hold Training on principles of journalism, freedom of expression and Ethics for local journalists
By Goth Mohamed Goth
A three days Hargeisa (August 29 to 31, 2015) Training on principles of journalism , freedom of expression and ethics for journalists drawn from all regions of Somaliland jointly organized by Somaliland Journalist Association “SOLJA” and VIKES,The Finnish Foundation for Media and Development opened today at Maan-Soor Hotel, hargeisa.
Mr. Mahmoud Jama Ahmed, chairman of SOLJA speaking during the opening of the three days training on the principles of Journalism and Ethics said, “The main objective this training is to improve national media practices and standards. This will be achieved through training activities targeting journalists from all media outlets and houses (governmental and non-governmental) in a country that needs to positively interact and communicate with the rest of the world and benefit from access to information in a very dynamic environment.
Somaliland deputy minister of information and national guidance Hon Shukri Hariir speaking during the event, “Only through such training meant to enhance the credibility of media professionals through professional development opportunities, and through the communication of standards.
The information minister urged the youthful journalists participating in the three days training to deter from using unethical methods in their reporting of events instead they should utilize the wide range of option available to them to do background research through technical innovation from new approaches in online storytelling, to be investigative and to use digital tools that will change the way stories are told.
Hon Shukri Hariir further said “We (The ministry of information and national guidance) is ready to closely work with you through the facilitation of training and the introduction of a diversity of projects to support journalists and journalism in an inventive and a creative environment that we’re confident will generate innovative ideas to move journalism forward while safeguarding the code of ethic for journalism.
Lastly the deputy minister of information advised the web journalists to report the truth and be impartial in their news reporting and also to double check their facts in order to make interactive news easier to build future competences for journalism.
Veteran Finnish Journalist Mr. Peik Johansson, the Somaliland/Somalia program coordinator for VIKES,opened the first training session by stating the objectives of training in which he began by saying, “The aim of this training is to promote the freedom of expression and media diversity as the foundations for the democracy and social development which was followed by the introduction of the VIKES, The Finnish Foundation for Media and Development.
“In 2015, a total of 14 projects have been carried out by VIKES through freelance and volunteer work in over 11 countries and shall start a 3 years training program for Somaliland journalist this year and shall also next year begin training for Somaliland civil servants and police with the aim of making them understand the work of the media”, stated Mr. Peik Johansson.
Mr. Peik Johansson added, “The Finnish Foundation for Media, Communication and Development (known by its Finnish acronym VIKES) was set up by 26 Finnish communications entities in 2005. It is a foundation for development cooperation, intended to promote freedom of expression and the pluralism of media as a basis for democracy and social development. VIKES was established on the initiative of the Union of Journalists in Finland, and brings together the whole Finnish journalistic profession. The main backer for the projects has been the Foreign Ministry in Finland. The 15% self-funding component of most of the projects has come from the Union of Journalists solidarity fund, for which the union invests 0.7% of the income from membership payments. Other major donors have been the Finnish Broadcasting Company and a number of member associations of the Union of Journalists.
Veteran Finnish Journalist further said, “Freedom of expression, independent media and citizens’ right to communication are essential parts of the global development agenda. Transparency and openness are basic conditions of development. We cannot speak about functional democracy unless the citizens have the right and opportunity to receive information. Independent and professional media have a central role in furthering economic and democratic development in developing countries.
After the brief introduction to the workings of VIKES to the participants of the 3 days training, Mr. Peik Johansson proceeded to the practical introduction to the basic fundamentals of journalism during a lively session in which notes were exchanged.
The 9 Basic fundamentals of journalism
Truth is most important
Responsibility to the audience
Verification of information
Independence from story subjects
Watchdog of power
Forum for discussion and criticism
Putting things in proportion and context
High personal ethics
Veteran journalist Mr. Yonis Ali Noor, who is part of SOLJA trainers, gave insight on the Freedom of expression, Ethics and media development as a long-term objective meant to develop an environment conducive to freedom of expression, pluralism and diversity of the media and advocate for democratic legal, policy and regulatory frameworks which protects freedom of expression, professional journalism.