“After my first trip to Somalia, the terror of being surrounded by violence and the horrors of the famine threw me into a dark depression. Even journalists who had covered many conflicts were moved to tears. But for me, this was my first experience with war. Before Somalia, I had only seen two dead bodies in my life. I have now seen hundreds, tossed into ditches like sacks. The worst things I could not photograph… I don’t know how these experiences have changed me, but I feel different.” – Dan Eldon
Dan wrote those words over 20 years ago. It would be easy to think that the issues in Somalia are in the past, but that could not be more off.
Between October 2010 and April 2012, there was severe food insecurity in Somalia with 30,000 people dying in just one month. Last week, a bomb was planted underneath Somali journalist, Yusuf Keynan’s seat in his car and killed him. Just yesterday, a suicide bomber and gunman killed three people in a town in Somalia.
Change is desperately needed in Somalia.
Jamal Osman is a reporter for Channel 4 News in London fighting for his Somali friends, neighbors and relatives. Unfortunately for Jamal and other journalists in Somalia, the government proposed a media bill this past Wednesday, June 25, 2014 that according to Reporters without Borders “Contains a series of extremely vague and often illegitimate restrictions on freedom of expression.”
Freedom of speech is necessary to hold a government accountable. It’s also necessary to give people a voice. In places like Somalia, being a journalist is a risk, but because of them, people all over the world have access to these stories.
Stay tuned for Kathy Eldon’s Huffington Post article featuring Jamal Omsan to learn more about his story and purpose in being a journalist. For now, watch her Caught in the Act with Jamal while she was in London last November.