The Federation of Somali Journalists (FESOJ) is urging journalists and news organizations to exercise care in their coverage of the coronavirus outbreak in Somalia to ensure accurate and fair portrayals of Somalis to avoid to disseminate false claims ,unfounded rumors and myths about Coronavirus which some Social media users are sharing their platforms that include What’s App, Twitter, and Facebook
FESOJ encourages journalists to refer and turn to reliable sources like the Ministry of Health of Federal Government of Somalia , World Health Organization (WHO) and or other officially authorized agencies to report the conditions and progress of Coronavirus in Somalia.
Journalists reporting Coronavirus should exercise extreme caution and not risk their lives . Federation of Somali Journalists (FESOJ) advices all media workers to consider and follow CPJ Safety Advisory
The Committee to Protect Journalists has issued an advisory with tips on travel plans and supplies, helpful links, and safety information for journalists on the front lines, and in harms way, when covering the virus from such places as medical or isolation facilities or quarantine zone.
“In the last few days we have seen in social media people talking about Coranavirus in different negative ways. Some have been telling that Somalia is a Muslim country and Coronavirus is intended only for non-Muslims, some others have also been saying that Coronavirus can’t spread countries of tropical weather like Somalia, while some locals were promoting traditional medicine to control the Coronavirus disease. There were also some critics that Coronavirus wasn’t confirmed in Somalia while the Federal Government of Somalia officially announced its first case on last Monday. All of the above mentioned issues and other factors including false numbers of infected patients by some social media users can pose a serious threat and panic to public , so in that case the media has a huge responsibility in this critical moment” Mohamed Ibrahim Moalimuu the Secretary General of Federation of Somali Journalists said.
“FESOJ, following the proposed guidelines, will suspend all non-essential meetings of journalists ,trainings and events scheduled for the coming weeks, including training for women journalists in some regions and also journalist rights advocacy meetings” Abaadir Abdulkadir Elmi FESOJ President said.
FESOJ calls on the Federal Government of Somalia and other mandated agencies for Coronavirus control to keep the media updated in order to provide the public the neccessary information about Coronavirus they need to know , thus can rule out false information in social media.