After 1991 Somali central government was collapsed by aimed militia based on clan system, due to heavy fighting among Somali clans which resulted killing more than thousands of innocent people as well as disabling other thousands of civilians due to blast injuries related and gun shots. Also, more than one million Somalis have fled and seek refuge around the world.
According to the World Health Organization 10% of the world’s population is composed of disabled people, but it is unknown how many Somalis are affected as reliable data is difficult to compile due to decades of conflict. A 2011 report titled ‘Disability Rights in Somalia’ released by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency confirms that the number of disabilities in Somalia increases by 20 people daily, and suggests 12-15% of the population are disabled. The World Blind Union reported Somalia does not have a national coordination agency responsible for establishing disability policies. Due to lack of sufficient resources Somalia’s Federal Government has been focused on the most fundamental issues such as security, education and narrowly on health. Other non-governmental organizations like Somali Disability Empowerment Network (SODEN) that operates in Somalia are unable to access to know the real number of disability in Somali for the sake of financial reasons and security of some regions in Somalia are hard to collect a reliable data.
After the collapse of the central government and the start of the civil war in the early 1990s, media in Somalia was essentially unregulated. Journalists had unrestricted freedom to write and publish stories without editorial oversight, and many took an active role in the conflict’s propaganda battle.
Disability and media in Somalia have no good relation according to some issues the first one Somali people are not understand that disability is not inability and Somali media door is not opened for those stigmatized and discriminated people.
As we know the world of today is guided by a media and the only place that Somali Disability can spread their voices and awareness to the society is only Mass Media, in 2013 Somali Disability Empowerment Network
(SODEN) propelled the first awareness rising through Media by using a local Radio called (RISALA MEDIA) without money that awareness was established to encourage disability children parents call for to give equal rights to their children and told them that disability child and ability child has equal rights.
In 2014 Somali Disability Empowerment Network (SODEN) aired awareness for disable children who are out of school through another local Radio called Kulmiye Radio we paid $100 US dollar for one month airing the awareness.
In Somalia you can’t use Mass Media unless you bribe them and mostly disability organizations don’t have enough money to bribe the media, and media don’t give courtesy the issue of people with disability. Usually, the media, the government as well as the society have neglected people with disability. Moreover, children with disability don’t have access to education sectors due to discrimination of their disability
At the end of 2014 Internes invited soma civil society organizations including Somali Disability Empowerment Network (SODEN) to attend training about Media literacy and civil society to address how to do a qualified press release and press conference, Mr Mohamed Ali Farah Director and founder of Somali Disability Empowerment Network (SODEN) attended the training and he gained more experience.
The conclusion of my article is that people with disability such as a women and children are the most vulnerable and prejudiced people in Somalia and they need to make their voices to convey the world via media to make awareness about disability rights in Somalia.
Mohamed Ali Farah