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Somalia’s first all women media outlet has just launched in the capital city of Mogadishu. Supported by the United Nations, it is the first solely female run radio and television outfit to come from the heavily conservative country of Somalia.
According to a report by VOA News, the news outlet is named Bilan Media and has Nasrin Mohamed Ibrahim as the editor.
In Somali, “Bilan” means “bright and clear” and the creators say that they shall remain committed to the meaning of their outlet and shall produce content that accurately portrays the numerous issues facing Somali women. Some of which are educational challenges, female genital mutilation and sexual violence.
Their primary reason for going all-female is to break the barriers and viewpoints in the mainstream Somali media around issues particular to Somali women. That said, Bilan says that it does not seek to compete with mainstream Somali media, but insteads seeks to create its own path as a forerunner in the elevation of women’s voices and stories in Somalia.
The deputy editor Fathi Mohamed Ahmed said that they are not out to make a profit but rather they want to showcase the productivity and power of women.
Going further, she told VOA News that, “I can say that the reason for the formation of this media outlet for women is that in most parts of Mogadishu and Somalia as a whole, there are media outlets where both men and women work but are 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.”
Some media practitioners have however expressed fears and worries for the safety of female journalists in an all female media group.
Hinda Jama, the head of gender affairs at Somali Journalists Syndicate says that the potential challenges to the proposed radio station are many. She cites that some clerics, religion wise, may not consider women worthy enough to speak in the media.
Bilan Media is scheduled to go on air on April 25th.