News / Africa

Defying Danger: Somali Refugees Flock to Journalism School

Roopa Gogineni
With three months remaining in the year, the Committee to Protect Journalists has already declared 2012 as the deadliest year ever for Somali journalists.  Despite the danger, young Somali refugees flock to a journalism school in Eastleigh, an eastern suburb of Nairobi. 

On the eighth floor of the Binali hotel in Nairobi, journalists gather to honor six of their colleagues killed in Mogadishu in just eight days in late September.  

Mohamed Osman, chairman of the Somali Exiled Journalists Association, organized the event.

"No one knows, you know, why we are killed and who is killing the journalists," he said.

Journalists are under threat from al-Shabab militants, rival political factions and general insecurity in a country that has been a lawless conflict zone for 20 years.

Osman fled Mogadishu in 2007 after two of his colleagues at Horn Afrik Media were murdered on the same day.  Now in Nairobi, he says the recent violence reminds him of why he cannot return to Somalia.

"Within two weeks more than five journalists were killed, how could you dare go back to a town where the journalist is a target?  By no means, I don't think so," he said.
 
Despite the risks, journalism is still a popular profession among young Somalis.

Two years ago Osman opened the Al-Imra Institute of Languages and Journalism to train young Somali refugees.

Abdiladiif, 22, is one of Osman’s 30 students.  Born in Mogadishu, he arrived in Nairobi one year ago as a refugee.  Everyday he now attends Kiswahili, English and journalism classes. 

"Journalism is my passion and I have always dreamt about it so I will not stop," he said.  "I believe that whether I am in Somalia or in a safer place, still death will meet me.  So I will still move on.  It is unfortunate that heinous acts of violence are leveled against journalists.  But still I want continue with my studies, the future holds a lot for me.”

Abdiladiif’s brother, working in the U.S., pays his school fees.  The journalism course costs him 1,000 Kenyan shillings every month, or approximately 12 U.S. dollars. 

Many in the class are women, like Fatuma Jam’a, aged 27, who used to work as a radio journalist in Somalia before fleeing to Nairobi.

"If you go back to Somalia, it is not safe for ordinary people, but it's even worse for journalists," she said. "Problems will arise but you need to be bold, somebody has to work there. …You need courage and braveness [bravery], and for me, I want to be the person who goes back." 
 
Most of the Somali journalists murdered this year have been in their 20s and 30s, as younger reporters tend to take bigger risks. 

After completing the yearlong course, both Fatuma and Abdiladiif are willing to return to Somalia to work as journalists.

They understand the risk but believe good journalism can bring peace to their war-torn home.

You May Like

Mugabe Dismisses Male-Female Equality

'It is not possible that women can be at par with men' incoming African Union president declares on eve of summit More

Somali Terror Suspect's Light Sentence Raises Questions

Abdullahi Yusuf, 18, could have spent 15 years in prison but judge instead sentenced him to a halfway house, and a program to try to integrate him back into the community More

Video Kobani Ravaged Following Kurdish Ouster of IS Militants

Even so, hundreds of refugees sheltering in Turkey seek to return; Kurdish forces hold some back, saying fighting continues More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Productioni
X
George Putic
January 29, 2015 9:43 PM
The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Production

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Crowded Republican Presidential Field Off to Early Start for 2016

It seems early, but the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign is already heating up. Though no one has officially announced a candidacy, several potential Republican contenders have been busy speaking to conservative groups about making a White House run next year. Many of the possible contenders are critical of the Obama administration’s foreign policy record. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid