17 February 2014

By Goth Mohamed Goth

SomalilandPress- The Somaliland Journalists Association (SOLJA), in partnership with United Nations, are today celebrating 4 winners of the 2013 Somali Media Awards competition. The Media Awards recognize professionalism and excellence in the Somali media sector.

Somali journalists submitted entries across four categories – gender, children and youth, access to basic services, and investigative journalism. The winners were chosen anonymously and transparently by a jury of veteran Somali journalists with support from UN communications experts. 

The Somali Media Awards were established to encourage journalists who excel and exhibit professionalism in their field. Journalism can be an agent for positive change and development. A fair and impartial media sector can highlight critical humanitarian issues, as well as promote peace and development. For instance, the media has enormous potential to change the way that gender issues are addressed in the public domain through gender-balanced reporting or specific programmes on gender issues –such as gender based violence, female genital mutilation and women’s political participation.

“The quality of the winning entries and the professional style of presentation employed by the winners in the four categories is a testimony to the dedication and rising professionalism amongst the Somali media talent. I am delighted to recognize these talents through these media awards,” said Philippe Lazzarini, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator (RC/HC) for Somalia.

Lazzarinisaid it was vital that the Somali media is supported to continue in its role as an unbiased voice of the people, which reports responsibly and professionally. A strong media sector is also one of the pillars of a resilient civil society. Journalists should continue to defend the rights of vulnerable people in their communities and in their respective geographic areas to contribute to peace, justice, and freedom.

Somali journalists have over the past years shown a remarkable dedication to highlighting the humanitarian and development issues in the country. The UN is committed in building a strong, vibrant and responsible media for the benefit of all Somali people,” Lazzarini added.

The winners were awarded equipment to support their work, including laptops and voice recorders. By recognizing media excellence and the integrity of Somali journalists, the 2013 Media Awards will acknowledge, inspire, support and promote media excellence.