By Goth Mohamed Goth

Hargeisa-14 April 2020, as the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has created a global health crisis that has had a deep impact on lives of communities across the globe and the first cases were confirmed Somaliland on the 31st March 2020 by the Ministry of Health which reported the first two cases and 3 more cases on the 13th April 2020.

Members of the media are facing a huge amount of pressure and strain, and are often potentially exposed to the infection through travel, interviews, and the locations they find themselves working in.

Journalists both in Somaliland and around the world are playing a crucial role in keeping the public informed about the pandemic and governments’ efforts to combat the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Mr. Yahye Mohamed Abdi “Xanas”, Executive Director of Somaliland Journalists Association (SOLJA) speaking during the handing over of the personal protective equipment to local journalist said, “Coronavirus is an unprecedented threat, and journalists are out there risking their safety to bring us information and help us grapple with the fast-paced developments of the pandemic. Local journalists covering the COVID-19 outbreak should consider following safety information, and keep up to date with all of the latest developments and restrictions.

“Today, Somaliland Journalists Association (SOLJA) in accordance with its preparedness and response plan for 2020 distributed Personal protective equipment’s to the local media including the crew of 17 Televisions stations, 7 newspapers, 7 websites, freelancers and state-owned agencies including Radio Hargeisa for protection against the novel Covid-19 with assistance from our partner Free Press Unlimited.

Each media house was provided with a package consisting of personal protective equipment’s-PPE including Facemasks, gloves and hand-wash sensitizers.

In order to tackle the fake news and spread of misinformation in the wake of Covid-19 outbreak, SOLJA also provided the journalists CPJ international guideline hand-books for Covid-19 reporting in Somali context-based account along with the Protective packages.

In addition to that, SOLJA’s will distribute the personal protective equipment to journalists and media houses based in all regions of Somaliland by regional representatives in Awdal, Saahil, Tog-dheer, Sool and Sanaag regions.

These efforts are in line with the Somaliland national strategies for Covid-19 response and which are currently been implementing by the national Covid-19 preparedness and prevention committee lead by the Vice President. Also, to strengthen the media role in covering the disease and combat misleading or false information by unofficial sources and untrained individuals.

Standard recommendations to avoid infection include:


  • Maintain a minimum of at least 2 meters distance with everybody, being especially careful around those showing any signs or symptoms of respiratory illness, such as coughing and sneezing. Avoid shaking hands, hugging and/or kissing


  • Try to stand at an angle to a subject during an interview rather than face-on, always maintaining the recommended 2 meters or more distance


  • Journalists should be particularly conscious of maintaining a safe minimum distance when interviewing the elderly, those with underlying health conditions, anyone close to individuals who are symptomatic, health care workers treating COVID-19 patients, or workers in high risk locations


  • Wash your hands regularly, properly, and thoroughly, for at least 20 seconds at a time using hot water and soap. Ensure hands are dried in the appropriate way. A very useful guide on how to wash and dry your hands properly can be found on the WHO website