Somalia is the world’s most dangerous country for reporters, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. On a day-to-day-basis, the online harassment and censorship against journalists and social rights activists in Somalia is on the rise in a time most of the Journalists depend on the Internet and digital communications for research, interaction and news distribution.
The widespread use of Internet and social media for news distribution, interaction with audiences without basic digital safeguards has facilitated harassment against journalists in online settings by a variety of means, including by disseminating threats and disinformation, stalking and broadcasting private or personally identifiable information while authorities have set up dedicated teams who troll journalists and report them to Facebook’s standard enforcers in order to disable their accounts and silence critical media voices. Due to these growing threats, many journalists have given up their jobs and others left from the country.
Amid Somalia’s deteriorating environment for freedom of speech and expression, we have conducted small survey in February and found that 89% of the surveyed journalists had personally experienced a security issue due to their work and unfamiliar with the widely available strategies and sophisticated digital security tools that could protect them in the digital space.
With these difficulties facing Somali journalists, Bareedo Platform Somalia organized two day training for 38 journalists, bloggers and media personnel in Mogadishu on December 14, 2020 to strengthen their digital security knowledge and help them defeat the growing digital threats and do their vital work safely and effectively and make their families and their sources considerably more secure.
Training was delivered by our digital rights team and an expert with competence and experience in digital security who have been involved in media capacity building and media literacy work for more than ten years and have trained hundreds of journalists and citizen media makers in 5 countries. Similar trainings will be held in Kismayo and Garowe in the coming weeks.
Bareedo Platform Somalia established a desk that will be working with journalists and media organizations after the training using secure communication methods to develop effective and resilient practices for digital security and collect the relevant data and information of online threats, censorship and abuse against journalists in Somalia to increase awareness around digital security issues in the face of shrinking online spaces.
Digital Rights Team
Garowe, Puntland Somalia