Author: BBC Media Action's Abdillahi Jama, May 5 2016 - As a Somali journalist, I’ve seen a lot. As the 1991 civil war erupted in Mogadishu, bombs and bullets interrupted my journalism studies. Finding it impossible to finish - despite being in the final stage of writing up my thesis - I packed my bags to return to the relative safety of my family home in Somaliland.
On arrival, I found that war had weakened free-speech in Somaliland. There was no room for independent media and journalists were regularly harassed.
Imprisoned for setting up an independent newspaper
That’s why I helped set-up 'Voice of Hargeisa', Somaliland’s first independent newspaper. It was seen as a direct affront to the government of the time and I was imprisoned for a month along with my team. Only with the help of lawyer, Raqia Omaar (sister of former BBC Correspondent, Rageh Omaar) and a swell of public support, were we finally released.
Finding a job at Radio Hargeisa in 1992, I worked my way up the ladder from reporter to Head of Programmes.
Now, I work as a producer for BBC Media Action, helping develop Hiigsiga Nolosha (Inspirations for Life), an interactive radio show for Somali youth covering important subjects, such as relationships, unemployment and migration.
It’s at BBC Media Action that I met Sakariye, a talented young reporter employed by BBC Media Action as a radio station mentor, to strengthen the production and editorial skills of my old employer, Radio Hargeisa.