Harun Maruf’s Recent Programme on Amira, First Investigative Journalism in Somali Media.
Investigative journalism plays a significant role in contemporary media contents with most cases having great influence on their intended target audiences and consequently leads to radical changes in the public. Investigative journalism usually investigates deeply a single topic of interest, often involving drug dealers, corrupt politicians, oppressors; celebrity scandals and other public interest issue. These investigative stories can have significantly impact people’s lives or increase public awareness about those issues at the hand.
However, Somali media institutions, journalists and Somali media professionals do not pay great deal of attention into this important area and the fact is that investigative journalism does not exist in the Somali media and completely ignored by the journalists and their respective owners. It is worth- mentioning that, Somali media has been enjoying unprecedented press freedom in the past two decades, and Somalia media organisations expanded tremendously. Unfortunately, Somalia media did not take a positive advantage of the press freedom that it has been enjoying.
However, on the 30 August 2010, the Voice of America (VOA)-Somali service broadcasted its weekly programme (Faaqidaada Todobaadka) which focuses on the current issues in Somalia. This series was produced and presented by Harun Maruf who is a prominent Somali journalist and a senior producer at the VOA Somali service. The producer of the programme conducted massive investigations about the role of Michele Ballerin “Amira” into Somali affairs and exposed stunning and credible evidence about her negative involvement in the Somali internal affairs. http://www.voanews.com/somali/news/Faaqidaadda-iyo-Michele-Amira-Ballarin-101786033.html
As I am one of the Somali journalists and media buffs who follow very closely to the Somali media activities both on-line and off-line, I would like to congratulate Harun Maruf for his investigative skills and professionalism. The series about Amira was one of the best investigative journalism programmes that had ever been conducted by modern Somali media. I have no hesitation in nominating this highly respected investigative series as “the programme of the year” in the Somalia media, and I am sure most of colleagues will agree and support this nomination. Indeed, the programme, due to its uniqueness, has attracted many Somali listeners around the world including many Somali media professionals including myself, and others interested in Somali Media.
One of the key points that fascinated me about this programme was how the presenter of the programme named and shamed all of those who were involved or directly or indirectly supported Amira’s work in Somalia including the infamous President of Transitional Federal Government (TFG-2).
Mr. Harun Maruf managed to reach out key players in the story, including Amira herself, and challenged and confronted them with very sensitive questions about their role that the Somali public wanted to know. In fact, Somalis are fed up with the misinformation, biased and deliberate misrepresentation of the facts that are broadcasted or published by the both Somali and non-Somali media on a daily basis.
Nevertheless, Harun`s programme on “Amira” is a new beginning of Somali media. I do believe that good journalists who are responsible and dedicated to their professional should stand up and uphold the principle of accurate, fair, and unbiased reporting on the issues without taking sides. Also I would like to encourage to the Somali journalists to explore the ways in which they could produce programmes like this one, so that Investigative journalism might have a huge role to play in informing Somali people inside and those on Diaspora.
Abdishakur Ali Mire is a Somali journalist and he hosts weekly political show at Somali Channel. TV