All-Female Media Company Breaks out in Somalia


An all-female media unit has been launched in Somalia with the aim of overturning stereotypes and combating challenges surrounding female journalists in the country.

According to the UNDP, which launched the initiative, the unit is aimed at “providing a space where women media professionals can work with real decision-making authority and free from harassment”.

The female-led unit dubbed Bilan – which also means bright and clear in Somali – is made up of six team members.

Bilan will be fully independent to pick its own projects which will be aired on TV, radio, print and online by one of Somalia’s leading media houses, Dalsan Media Group, and international media houses as well.

“For too long, Somali women journalists have been treated as second-class citizens and Somali news has ignored the stories and voices of half the population; now we are in charge of the boardroom and the narrative,” said Nasrin Mohamed Ibraham, Bilan’s chief editor.

A recent survey found that Somali women journalists faced harassment not just when conducting field work, but also in offices by their male counterparts.

They also reported being denied training opportunities, promotions and belittled even when they did reach a position of power.

“We hope this will be a game changer for the Somali media scene, opening up new opportunities for women journalists and shining a light on new subjects that have been ignored, particularly those that are important for women,” said Jocelyn Mason, UNDP’s representative in Mogadishu.

The UNDP said the initiative also seeks to change the attitude of male journalists on harassment of their female counterparts.