Sunday, October 2, 2022

First all-female media outlet opens in Somalia’s capital

Somalia’s first women-run radio and television outlet has opened in the capital, Mogadishu. UN-backed Bilan Media will produce content aimed at addressing issues affecting women and champion women’s rights in the conservative country.

The launch of Bilan Media in Mogadishu is another leap forward in an effort by women to secure their place in Somalia’s patriarchal public sphere.

The meaning of bilan in the Somali language is bright and clear, and the founders say they will stay true to its meaning by highlighting some of the most important issues that pertain to and affect women.

Nasreen Mohamed Ibrahim, Bilan Editor Reporting for Bilan Media last week.  (courtesy: bilan media)

Nasreen Mohamed Ibrahim, Bilan Editor Reporting for Bilan Media last week. (courtesy: bilan media)

Nasreen Mohammed Ibrahim is the editor of Bilan Media.

She says that the project has been created to address the many challenges faced by the community. It will focus on the challenges faced by women. She says there are stories about women that will come to the fore… Because there are so many stories in the community and they don’t allow them to be published, Bilan will reveal those stories.

By becoming fully female, Bilan hopes to break down barriers in Somalia’s conservative society where issues such as rape, sexual assault and women’s medical issues are often ignored.

Bilan says she is not trying to compete with mainstream media, but is trying to chart its course to raise women’s voices and influence agendas in a male-dominated society.

Fati Mohammad Ahmed is the Deputy Editor.

She says, “I would say that the reason women formed this media outlet is that in Mogadishu and much of Somalia, there are media outlets where both men and women work, but managed and owned by men. The circumstances of women’s needs are not discussed in detail. For example, violence against women is not discussed in depth.”

Ahmed says that the station owner is not out to make a profit.

It is not about earning money, it is about showcasing the productivity and power of women. So we want to improve our skills and present them in a place free from corruption and misbehavior by men.

Industry activists say the launch of a women-only media house is a bold move in a country where Islamist militant groups do not hesitate to harm or kill journalists.

The situation is even worse for female journalists, who have to deal with other types of challenges like sexual harassment in the newsroom, cultural stereotypes, pressure from families as well as low wages in comparison to male counterparts.

Hind Jama is the head of gender affairs at the Somali Journalists’ Syndicate.

She says the potential challenges for this radio station are many. Since radio is only operated by women, women may face challenges from Somali culture. Also, she says, Somali society is not accustomed to women working alone or being journalists working alone, and most people are not aware of this. She says that some clerics may not consider women fit to speak in the media from the point of view of religion.

The answer will soon be given whether the station is able to meet these challenges. Bilan Media is scheduled to air on April 25.

This article is republished from – Voa News – Read the – original article.

Nation World News Desk
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