Somalia in the eyes of the global media; Fact or fantasy?


By Ahmed AbdiSomali women carrying the Somali flag in a national holiday–photo is downloaded from the google

For nearly a quarter of century, Somalia has made the global news headlines as a country of misery and suffering. Almost all the pictures of Somalia in the google portray images of horror and children in Chronic malnutrition. Born and raised in the western most part of Somalia in today’s Ogaden territory, I never set a foot in the country I felt home, Somalia. As a young boy, everything I heard about Somalia was stories of war, refugees and bombings.

I was born when Somalia’s civil war was borne. Since now, the country is showing a limited progress towards peace. For two and half decades until now, people who led this country had come and gone with their names being the only piece of history. Ever since I was younger, everything I heard from my father was that Somalia was a great country in Africa and the world. He often told me stories I wish I’d have lived with it, times I wished I’d have witnessed and life I wished I’d have experienced but fortunately everything was gone before my father’s dream of going to Somalia was realized. The country that my father was born and breed had gradually prepared to enter towards a period of uncertainty which continues until the present.

Somalia’s war had an ever lasting impact on the country, people and resources we as a nation belong. Many people had left the country for Europe mainly the U.K, America and Australia in search of better life for themselves and for their extended families back in home. My parents were one of those people who left everything behind to look for places and chances of survival for their loved ones. In these hard days of war and horror, the global media were closely following up everything that happened in my country of birth. But not everything they were covering was ever true and reliable. The global media had added up their big share to distort the Somalia’s image and made the country more resilient to war.

For the last two and half decades, Somalia had stories of tragedy and triumph that have changed the perception of many people in the world. The media were in a great position in conveying the nation’s voices and messages through the world. The international press had dubbed Somalia many names which reflect hopelessness. The British independent journal the Guardian has made 21 publications on Somalia on it’s front pages in the year 2011 of which 18 of them depict stream of negative images. The CNN international has released videos and articles targeting foreign hostages in Somalia which had discouraged the country’s tourism industry. The BBC was relatively fair in its stance on journalism calling Somalia like “Somalia Better than before” but still suggest a country struggling to stand it’s own feet. With all these media provocatives, I have come to a point where I realized that global media are to be blamed for much of the crisis happening in my home country.

I’m hoping to pursue masters degree in communication and journalism sometime soon to see if I can make a difference in the ways media conduct their press in Somalia and more importantly to develop ways in which we all Somalis can create an atmosphere where the world sees our good and bad. I just wrote this to help some you know that it’s up to us to make our country great forever.

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