A New Resource for East African Journalists in Exile

A New Resource for East African Journalists in Exile
Monday, 04 November 2013 Written by Nicolas Rouger

Introducing a resource on coping with exile for journalists in East Africa

Today, in close collaboration with partners in Kenya and Uganda, including Article 19-East Africa, Protection International and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), the Rory Peck Trust is launching a unique new online resource for East African journalists forced into exile. 

Press freedom in many East African countries is not in good shape. Journalists working in Somalia, Eritrea, Ethiopia - the majority of them freelance - suffer threats, intimidation and imprisonment on a regular basis. As a result, hundreds have been forced to leave their homes and seek refuge in neighbouring countries such as Kenya and Uganda.

During the last few years, the Trust has supported a large number of freelancers who have been struggling in their country of exile. Rather than finding safety, many face insecurity and a new set of challenges.   

“Some journalists in exile receive daily threats”, Mahad Omar Diriye told us. He’s a freelance journalist who fled to Kenya from Somalia in 2010 after being threatened by Islamist movement al-Shabaab, and has continued to receive menacing phone calls and messages since arriving in Nairobi.

“We are uncertain of our security situation - and we don’t know where to go for help due to a lack of information. The process of verification to get support can take a long time. Having a webpage dedicated to journalists in exile could help us to support ourselves and help support organisations to understand our needs better.”

This is our goal here.

The resource is currently aimed at journalists already in exile, but will eventually include resources that tackle issues faced by journalists going into exile, and those moving on. We are planning to make these resources available in French and Swahili as soon as possible.

As with all of our resources, we will be developing and updating the information as we go, guided by changing situations and by the feedback of journalists in exile themselves. Mahad stresses that the problems of exiled journalists remain unaddressed - we hope this resource will go some way towards making this statement obsolete.

Visit the resource here.

Image: Daniel J Gerstle  |  Humanitarianbazaar.org

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