Few places in the world are more dangerous for journalists than Somalia. More than 50 reporters have been murdered in the past 12 years. Al-Shabaab, a militant Islamist group connected to Al-Qaeda, and rival ethnic clans specifically target journalists – both local and foreign.
This has made reporting on the ongoing civil and military conflicts in Somalia nearly impossible for international media organizations. Many local Somali reporters have abandoned journalism, out of fear for their lives.
A brave group of reporters have decided to keep journalism alive in their war-torn capital. They brave the streets of Mogadishu looking for news. The Global Reporting Centre has partnered with Somali Independent Media Houses Association, which represents 28 independent media organizations in Somalia. We are working with SIMHA director, Hassan Gessey, who was arrested in 2014 and held without charge for speaking out against media censorship.
For this project, reporters wear chest-mounted cameras to document their daily routines of reporting, as well as their lives. They will be documenting their reporter’s-eye-view for many months, sharing their footage with producers at GRC headquarters.
This is the kind of long-term project that most mainstream media organizations would never attempt. With modest philanthropic support, and in-kind support from the University of British Columbia, the GRC is able to embark on this ambitious project, with the goal of creating a multimedia and video documentary.
Along the way, a blog and social media reports will keep the public updated on the ongoing trials and travails of these brave journalists.