Bile Beshir Mahbub

Bile is a Somalian broadcast and online freelance journalist. He received an assistance grant from the Rory Peck Trust in 2018.

What type of stories do you cover and where do you report from?

I cover both political and social stories and one of the more remarkable was the African Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) operation to liberate the town of Baardheere in my native Somalia. As a journalist, telling the stories of my country has always been my aim and aspiration.

How long have you been a journalist?

I have been a journalist for the past nine years and worked for various media stations and outlets in and outside my country. I have worked for Radio Shabelle, Star FM and various websites in Somalia.

What made you want to become a journalist?

My country has plunged into a civil war and since its devastation was hugely widespread, I was interested in focusing on stories of my country and sharing it with the masses. The best mode to use was media, hence my interest in becoming a journalist.

What are some of the challenges you face as a freelance journalist?

As a freelance journalist in Somalia, I faced numerous death threats which caused me to leave the country in search of safety. I fled to Ethiopia and was detained and jailed for two and half years. During my detention, I encountered more threats, torture and mistreatment. After I was released, I traveled to Nairobi, hoping to be safer there. 

How did you learn about the Rory Peck Trust?

I came across the Rory Peck Trust on the internet and reached out to the organisation. 

How has the Trust helped you?

The Trust helped when I needed it most and gave me some grants that have contributed to changing my life since I have been displaced from my country.  

How can the Trust better support freelancers?

From my observation, I have seen positive work and support from the Trust for freelancers. I myself can attest to that as a beneficiary and would like to commend RPT on being so helpful. Kindly continue with this spirit of supporting and standing with freelancers during difficult times.  

What is something you’d like the world to know about what it’s like to be a freelance journalist today?

It takes passion and dedication to be a freelance journalist, and from my experience in my country Somalia, I have observed that freelance journalists work in critical and risky situations. They have no support from agencies or authorities – freelancers are on their own.