Mark Zuckerberg says social networks should not be fact-checking political speech

Mark Zuckerberg says social networks should not be fact-checking political speech

  • Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told CNBC he does not think social networks should be fact-checking what politicians post.
  • “Political speech is one of the most sensitive parts in a democracy, and people should be able to see what politicians say,” Zuckerberg said in an interview. 
  • The company, however, does have lines that no one, including politicians, is allowed to cross, Zuckerberg said.

WATCH NOWVIDEO04:54Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg: Social networks should not fact-check politicians

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told CNBC he does not think social networks should be fact-checking what politicians post.

Zuckerberg’s comment came after “Squawk Box” co-host Andrew Ross Sorkin asked him for thoughts on Twitter’s decision to start fact-checking the tweets of President Donald Trump.https://7e0d11e2cf97f727b2a9574df22190ad.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

Twitter’s move came on Tuesday after Trump tweeted that mail-in ballots would be “substantially fraudulent.” Earlier Tuesday, Twitter declined to censor or warn users after Trump tweeted baseless claims that MSNBC host Joe Scarborough should be investigated for the death of his former staffer. 

“I don’t think that Facebook or internet platforms in general should be arbiters of truth,” Zuckerberg told Sorkin in an interview that aired Thursday morning. “Political speech is one of the most sensitive parts in a democracy, and people should be able to see what politicians say.”

Although Facebook does use independent fact-checkers who review content on its social networks, the point of the fact-checkers is to “really catch the worst of the worst stuff,” Zuckerberg said. 

“The point of that program isn’t to try to parse words on is something slightly true or false,” he said. “In terms of political speech, again, I think you want to give broad deference to the political process and political speech.”

Facebook announced in October that it would allow politicians to run ads on the social network, even if they include misinformation. null

The company, however, does have lines that no one, including politicians, is allowed to cross, Zuckerberg said. No one is allowed to use Facebook to cause violence or harm themselves, or to post misinformation that could lead to voter suppression, Zuckerberg said.

“There are clear lines that map to specific harms and damage that can be done where we take down the content,” he said. “But overall, including compared to some of the other companies, we try to be more on the side of giving people a voice and free expression

Author: Shakir Essa

A toddler waking dead mother highlights migrants’ misery

At least nine migrants have died in recent days exposing suffering of migrant workers due to coronavirus lockdown.27 minutes ago

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India: A toddler waking dead mother highlights migrants' misery
Millions of India’s poor have suffered from the strict lockdown, with many in cities losing their jobs, going hungry and struggling to return to their home villages [Channi Anand/AP Photo]

A viral video clip shared on social media showing a toddler trying to wake his dead mother lying on a railway platform in the eastern city of Muzaffarpur has shocked Indians.

According to local media reports, the family of Arbina Khatoon said she died of hunger and dehydration, highlighting the suffering migrant workers have endured due to the coronavirus lockdown. Local police, however, said that she died of illness.

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The 35-year-old is among at least nine migrant workers who have died on trains in recent days while travelling back to their homes, officials and media reported on Wednesday.

Local media aired footage of the two-year-old boy pulling at a cloth covering his dead mother at Muzaffarpur railway station in the northeastern state of Bihar.null

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Local police said Khatoon died of illness, with Indian Railways sharing a letter from relatives attesting to her poor health.

But those who travelled with her claimed she died from a shortage of food and water during a long train journey from western Gujarat state some 1,800km (1,118 miles) away.

The nine deaths highlight the plight of Indian migrants in the pandemic, during which millions lost their jobs and are struggling to return home under the country’s lockdown.

The deaths occurred on special trains organised by the Indian government to help transport stranded workers home.

A four-year-old boy was also reported dead before reaching the same Muzaffarpur station. His father said that he “died due to poor facilities in special trains for migrant workers”.

Local police told AFP news agency the child died on the train due to illness.

The bodies of two other migrant workers who took a 1,480km (920-mile) train journey from Mumbai to Varanasi in the nation’s north were pulled from carriages on Wednesday. Police said the men, aged 30 and 63, suffered from existing ailments.

The Press Trust of India (PTI) reported another five migrant workers had died on train journeys between Monday and Wednesday.

Indian Railways said on Twitter that “no such deaths due to hunger have been reported”.

“In most of these cases, it is found that those who died are old, sick people and patients with chronic diseases, who had actually gone to big cities for medical treatment,” an Indian Railways spokesperson told local PTI news agency.

Millions of India’s poor including migrant workers have suffered from the strict lockdown, with many in cities losing their jobs, going hungry and struggling to return to their home villages.

Some have walked or cycled hundreds of kilometres home in the harsh summer heat, with dozens dying from exhaustion or accidents.

Critics say the special trains have been delayed, leaving migrants waiting or in trains in scorching hot weather for days, and that there had been a shortage of food and water on the journeys, charges that Indian Railways and the government deny.

Author; Shakir Essa

Facebook reportedly had evidence that its algorithms were dividing people, but top executives killed or weakened proposed solutions

Mark Zuckerberg

But Zuckerberg and Facebook’s policy chief, Joel Kaplan, repeatedly nixed proposed solutions because they feared appearing biased against conservatives or simply lost interest in solving the problem, The Journal reported.

Facebook live reactions

One report concluded that Facebook’s algorithms “exploit the human brain’s attraction to divisiveness,” according to The Journal.

Facebook reaction emojis

Facebook’s internal research found that it encouraged polarization, but Mark Zuckerberg and other top executives rejected ideas aimed at fixing the problem, The Wall Street Journal reports

Facebook had evidence that its algorithms encourage polarization and “exploit the human brain’s attraction to divisiveness,” but top executives including CEO Mark Zuckerberg killed or weakened proposed solutions, The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.

The effort to better understand Facebook’s effect on users’ behavior was a response to the Cambridge Analytica scandal, and its internal researchers determined that, contrary to the company’s mission of connecting the world, its products were having the opposite effect, according to the newspaper.

One 2016 report found that “64% of all extremist group joins are due to our recommendation tools,” with most people joining at the suggestion of Facebook’s “Groups You Should Join” and “Discover” algorithms. “Our recommendation systems grow the problem,” the researchers said, according to The Journal.

The Journal reported that Facebook teams pitched multiple fixes, including limiting the spread of information from groups’ most hyperactive and hyperpartisan users, suggesting a wider variety of groups than users might normally encounter, and creating subgroups for heated debates to prevent them from derailing entire groups.https://tpc.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html?n=0

But these proposals were often dismissed or significantly diluted by Zuckerberg and Facebook’s policy chief, Joel Kaplan, according to the newspaper, which reported that Zuckerberg eventually lost interest in trying to address the polarization problem and was concerned about the potential to limit user growth.

In response to the pitch about limiting the spread of hyperactive users’ posts, Zuckerberg agreed to a diluted version and asked the team to not bring something like that to him again, The Journal said.

The company’s researchers also determined that because of a larger presence of far-right accounts and pages publishing content on Facebook, any changes — including apolitical tweaks, like reducing clickbait — would have disproportionately affected conservatives.

That worried Kaplan, who previously halted a project called “Common Ground” that aimed to encourage healthier political discourse on the platform.null

Ultimately, many of the efforts weren’t incorporated into Facebook’s products, with managers telling employees in September 2018 that the company was pivoting “away from societal good to individual value,” according to The Journal.

“We’ve learned a lot since 2016 and are not the same company today,” a Facebook spokeswoman told the paper. “We’ve built a robust integrity team, strengthened our policies and practices to limit harmful content, and used research to understand our platform’s impact on society so we continue to improve.”

Facebook has repeatedly been scrutinized by critics who say the company hasn’t done enough to limit the spread of harmful content on its platform. That topic has come into sharper focus as coronavirus-related misinformation has run rampant on social media and as the 2020 presidential election approaches.

Author: Shakir Essa

A new film set in Djibouti City presents a searing class critique of Somali girlhood.

In the popular imagination, Somali women are viewed as passive, oppressed subjects, the hapless victims of their patriarchal culture and religion. Where they are visible, it is often through the iconography of the veil and female circumcision.

A new film set in Djibouti City presents a searing class critique of Somali girlhood.

Lula Ali Ismaïl’s Dhalinyaro (Youth)—the first full-length feature film by a Djiboutian woman—is a radical departure from this corpus in depicting Somali girlhood in its full depth and complexity. Most importantly, it does this through depicting the mundane events of everyday life in Djibouti City. There are no wars here, or pirates, or terrorists, no young women escaping fathers, husbands, or the blade of a female elder, no white saviors ready for the rescue. What we see in Dhalinyaro is a coming of age story that shows Somali girls as they are.

The film’s storyline revolves around the final qualification examination for Djiboutian secondary students to enter university, the baccalaureate. The three main characters, Deka, Hibo, and Asma, are classmates at the Lycée de Djibouti but hail from markedly different class backgrounds. The Lycée space becomes one where the different segments of Djibouti’s population interact and form friendships, bonding over the shared ritual of studying for the baccalaureate. Yet, it is the question of higher education that renders class divides most explicit. For wealthy Hibo, who arrives at the Lycée each day in a chauffeured private car, there is no question that she will continue her education in Paris. Deka, who is securely middle class, is less certain, but with the funds saved up by her mother over a number of years, the idea of going to France for university is within the realm of the possible. Asma has no such choices available to her; poverty dictates that she must stay in Djibouti, unless she is among the few top students to receive a scholarship to study abroad.

The palpable burden of class difference saturates the film. One shot silently juxtaposes a well-dressed man at a cafe with a young boy on the street as he hands his shoes to the child to polish while drinking coffee. In another shot, women in wide-brimmed sun hats sweep the city streets at dusk to the sounds of ciyaar Soomaali, a traditional Somali folk dance. It is palpable in Asma’s hesitation to attend Hibo’s birthday party at the luxury Djibouti Palace Kempinski, and in the fuul bean stew her family eats at mealtimes, like the poor neighborhood children that come to Deka’s home for bread. When Hibo gets into an altercation with a group of schoolgirls outside of the Lycée, she disparages them as the “stupid Balabois”—residents of the impoverished Balbala suburb. An angered Asma, who tells her that she is “one of them,” accuses Hibo of believing that her wealth gives her more rights. Over the course of the film, Hibo’s character arc moves from a sheltered and careless rich girl to a more understanding and self-sufficient individual, a transformation made possible by honest friendships across difference.

The stunning cinematography with long shots of the sea and glimpses of the Port of Djibouti subtly signals the confluence and contradictions of global wealth and local poverty. This infrastructure of state capitalism—and, at the end of the film, the national radio broadcasting examination results—are the only glimpses of the state or politics in Dhalinyaro. Djibouti is among the most enduring dictatorships in Africa, ruled by an extended family since its independence from France in 1977. Its ruler, Ismaïl Omar Guelleh, is famously a patron of the arts and culture, and Lula Ali Ismaïl has described the support she received for the film from both the private sector and a government eager to develop the country’s nascent film industry. While one can wonder about the possible implications of this government hand for artistic freedom, Ismaïl’s decision not to engage formal politics explicitly is another subversive act of representation, given that the region is mired in images of political dysfunction. Ismaïl’s political critique is muted and indirect, but no less searing. It takes the form of a city-wide power outage that forces the “haves” to turn on their private generators and the “have-nots” to light lanterns; it is in the figure of the elderly veteran telling Deka the forgotten stories of Djiboutian soldiers who fought for France during the Second World War; it is, at the metalevel, what the film itself embodies in its very existence, in its very refusal to conform.

What Dhalinyaro foregrounds is female sociality and intimacy as it unravels the complex layers of contemporary Djiboutian life. The film has a decidedly female gaze, decentering maleness to the extent that most of the male characters in the film remain marginal and unnamed. Instead, it is the inner worlds of Somali women that are fleshed out in full, and with the immense care and tenderness of a Somali woman behind the camera. When Hibo has a miscarriage in a bathroom stall at school, it is the conservatively-dressed Asma who immediately removes her abaya to cover her friend’s blood-stained clothing, stating that “girls look out for each other.” They openly discuss sexuality and their relationships, the lively female banter reminiscent of the Somali riwaayad (play) and theater tradition that has pushed the envelope on notions of female morality and modesty in Somali society since the 1960s. Markers of Somali womanhood are interspersed throughout the film: the breezy dirac shiid worn as loungewear at home, the fragrant uunsi smoke used to perfume one’s household, clothing and hair, the huruud face masks made of turmeric to keep one’s skin soft.

At the heart of Dhalinyaro is the tension between visibility and invisibility in the desire for a particular kind of freedom. In an early scene, Deka, Hibo, and Asma quietly talk at their desks as their teacher—played by Lula Ali Ismaïl herself—explains the upcoming deadlines for students seeking to go abroad for university. “Think of the freedom!” Deka whispers to her friends, “no one holding you to account, no one looking at you and saying ‘you’re the daughter of so and so.’” These moments of recognition occur most often in their encounters with men. As the girls sit by the waterfront and jokingly evaluate the appearances of young men passing by, a man pauses and greets Hibo, telling her to say hello to her father for him. “There’s no getting away!” an exasperated Hibo tells her friends. In another scene, the searching glance of a male waiter at a restaurant where Deka is having an intimate dinner with the older married man she is seeing is enough to unsettle her and abruptly end the date. Yet, it is the same surveilling gaze—this time by women—that precipitates the end to the predatory relationship, after Deka’s mother hears about it. The communal nature of the Somali social world, while frustrating any notion of individual anonymity, fosters a sense of interdependence and female solidarity that uplifts the girls in times of need, as their friendship illustrates. Ultimately, Deka chooses this world by staying in Djibouti for university.

Ethnicity is conspicuously absent from the film. Djibouti, while dominated politically, culturally and demographically by Somalis, is a multi-ethnic country comprised of the Somali and Afar, as well as smaller communities of Arabs, Ethiopians and Europeans. That diversity is represented in the casting, with the three lead actresses themselves belonging to Djibouti’s different ethnic groups: one is Afar, one is Somali, and one is Arab Somali. Yet each plays a Somali character, in a Djibouti where only Somali people and culture appear to exist. However, there is some ambiguity to Hibo’s background that is not discernible to the non-Somali speaker and flattened by the limited subtitles. In the scene where Hibo is confronted on the schoolyard, a voice in the background, which does not make it into the subtitles, can be heard saying “the little Arab girl is being attacked!” in Somali. Her father, in other scenes, speaks one or two words of Arabic, albeit words that have entered the Somali lexicon. Asma and Deka’s households are completely immersed in their Somaliness, with illustrative scenes including Asma’s sisters playing jag on the veranda as their mother gives them advice using Somali proverbs, and Deka’s single mother listening to gabay poetry composed by a heartbroken Cilmi Boodhari. Hibo’s family, on the other hand, only speaks Somali at home when talking to their maid; they converse in French exclusively between themselves, listen to European classical music during formal dinners, and go to France for education. There is an unexamined politics of language and ethnicity yearning to be explored.

Dhalinyaro is a remarkable feat, particularly for a first full-length film by a self-taught filmmaker hailing from a country with a film industry still in its infancy. Though initially released in 2018, it has recently seen a surge in popularity when it was made available for free streaming as part of this year’s Cinewax Online African Film Festival, breaking OAFF streaming records. It is a beautiful film—a love letter to Somali girls—that deserves to be seen widely.

Marriage proposals, dresses, feasts and dances – the story of two weddings in Somali, with traditions old and new.

When it comes to weddings, Somalia has many approaches. Some couples stick with tradition while others go for more modern marriage ceremonies.

This film tells the story of two weddings, one in a small desert village and the other in a busy city, while highlighting everyday life in different parts of the country. It also contrasts traditional ways of life with modern ideas that come from younger Somalis and social media.

In the remote rural village of Toon, herder Jamalli Muhammad Ahmed can only marry a local woman called  Hoda after first getting permission from her family. In a tradition going back generations, they all gather in the shade of a large tree to decide whether they are a suitable match. Only then can Jamalli and Hoda start planning their lives together.

Somalia Two Weddings - AJW
Jamalli and Hoda’s wedding followed traditional Somali customs [Screengrab/Al Jazeera]

Abdullatif Deeq Omar in Hargeisa city, however, first met his future wife Najma on Facebook. They eloped but eventually returned to their families who accepted their marriage plans.

Somalia Two Weddings - AJW
Abdullatif and Najma’s ceremony was in the city of Hargeisa [Screengrab/Al Jazeera]

Both weddings have the same pressures: buying outfits, inviting guests, finding a venue and arranging feasts – but each tells a unique story of family, community and tradition.

In Somali culture, many people also believe that getting married in the run-up to Ramadan ensures additional blessings on the couple, making the happy occasion even more special.

 

  1. Continue reading Marriage proposals, dresses, feasts and dances – the story of two weddings in Somali, with traditions old and new.

Omar Implies Somali Community Leader Was Paid To Say She Married Her Brother

Democratic Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar on Thursday denounced allegations by a Somali individual in Minnesota who says he knows Omar married her brother, with the congresswoman suggesting that the man is being paid to make the accusations.

Abdihakim Osman — who is a member of the Somali community in Minneapolis and says he has long known Omar’s family — told the Daily Mail that she admitted to friends years ago that the second man she married was her brother, and that the marriage was conducted in order to score immigration benefits. In response, Omar suggested Osman was paid to make up the story.

“Paying people to generate fake new stories in order to delegitimize me and those I represent isn’t a good look,” Omar tweeted Thursday, following publication of the Daily Mail story. “Desperation is a sad mobilizing tool.”

The tweet was in direct response to a now-deleted tweet by “The View” co-host Meghan McCain, who had shared the story on her account.

Ilhan Omar tweet. 2.20.20

Ilhan Omar tweet. 2.20.20

Omar has long faced accusations that her second husband, Ahmed Elmi, is actually her brother. Conservative journalist David Steinberg has, since at least 2018, cited social media posts to argue that Omar and Elmi are siblings.

Traffic records, marriage certificate records and divorce records obtained by the Washington Examiner indicate Omar was living with her first husband while being legally married to Elmi, despite saying she was separated from her first husband at the time.

Evidence obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation suggests Elmi helped Omar’s sister build a website, undermining an oath taken by Omar that she was unable to make contact with him.

Osman noted to the Daily Mail that Omar, a devout Muslim who wears a hijab, had a Christian minister conduct her 2009 wedding with Elmi.

Unlike her first wedding with Ahmed Hirsi — which was widely celebrated among the local Somali community and conducted in the Muslim tradition, her wedding with Elmi was conducted in relative secrecy by a Christian minister and registered with the state, Osman said.

Osman said locals weren’t even aware of the wedding ceremony until media unearthed the marriage certificate years afterward. Omar conducted a Christian wedding because an imam would have known the two were brothers and would’ve refused to marry them, he added.

Omar, for her part, has adamantly denied the accusations and mounting evidence, calling allegations that she married her brother “absurd and offensive.” The Democratic congresswoman has since refused to address the issue, saying she does not speak about personal matters.

Osman operates a Facebook account called Xerta Shekh, according to the Daily Mail. He denied Omar’s claim that he was paid to make the allegation, calling the congresswoman a “pathological liar” in a Facebook post Thursday.

U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar listens during a news conference on prescription drugs Jan. 10, 2019 at the Capitol in Washington, D.C. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Rep. Omar (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

“I am going to declare under perjury of law that I have not received one single penny from anyone to discuss Ilhan Omars [sic] issues. Ilhan Omar is a pathological liar who has lied about many people in different elections,” Osman wrote on Facebook, although it’s not clear if he has taken any sort of oath.

“Ilhan has lied to the people of America [sic] specifically the poor Somali people who trusted her to be their helper in Congress. She lied through her teeth to elderly people who stood in line for hours to vote for their dreams which they saw in her,” he continued.

Xerta Shekh's Facebook post.

Screen shot of Xerta Shekh’s (aka Osman) Facebook post.

The DCNF reached out to Omar’s office about her accusation, but did not receive a response.

Osman first arrived in the United States in 2004, and said he became acquainted with Hirsi during his first few years in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The two first met when Hirsi worked at a local barber shop, and the two frequently ate at the now-closed Indian Ocean restaurant, Osman told the Daily Mail.

Osman also said he helped Hirsi when he opened up his own business, Urban Hookah, working at the till on occasion. That establishment has since closed down.

Speaking through an interpreter, Osman told the Daily Mail that, years ago, Omar told friends that she would “do what she had to do to get [Elmi] ‘papers’ to keep him in U.S.”

“She said she needed to get papers for her brother to go to school. We all thought she was just getting papers to allow him to stay in this country,” Osman said, becoming the first person to publicly come forward and say that Omar once admitted to marrying her brother. (RELATED: Ilhan Omar Continues To Dump Big Bucks Into Alleged Boyfriend’s Firm)

The accusations against Omar have been difficult to confirm because of a lack of paperwork in war-torn Somalia, her country of birth.

The New York Post reported in January that the FBI was investigating whether Omar married her brother to fraudulently score him a green card, and that any information gleaned from the investigation would be shared with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), citing a source with knowledge of the events.

Steinberg, who has been tracking the Omar saga for years, was the first to report that the congresswoman was under FBI investigation.

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Content rearranged by Shakir Essa

Shakir Essa

The Shakir Essa Report, first aired January 2012, is a thirty-minutes, weekly investigative documentary in which he reports on African immigrant stories northern Africa, Libya and Tunisia.

Shakir Essa served as manager at somali press media and producer of The ogaal program

BIOGRAPHY

Shakir Essa was born in 1980s in the jameecada district of HargeisaSomaliland.3 He attended high school in Hargeisa,

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Ethiopia admits shooting down Kenya aid aircraft in Somalia The plane had been carrying humanitarian and medical supplies to help the country

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Ethiopia admits shooting down Kenya aid aircraft in Somalia The plane had been carrying humanitarian and medical supplies to help the country fight the spread of coronavirus.
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09 May 2020 GMT+3 Ethiopia on Saturday admitted it was behind the shooting down of a privately owned Kenyan plane in Somalia earlier this week, resulting in the deaths of all six people on board. The plane was shot down on Monday by Ethiopian troops protecting a camp in the town of Bardale in southwestern Somalia, the Ethiopian army said in a statement to the African Union (AU). More: Six killed as plane carrying coronavirus aid crashes in Somalia Anger in Mogadishu after police kill civilian in COVID-19 curfew Somali state minister dies from coronavirus The aircraft had been carrying humanitarian and medical supplies to help the country fight the spread of coronavirus when it went down in Bardale, about 300km (180 miles) northwest of Somalia’s capital Mogadishu. The Ethiopian soldiers mistakenly believed the plane was on a “potential suicide mission” because they had not been informed about the “unusual flight” and the aircraft was flying low, the statement said. “Because of lack of communication and awareness, the aircraft was shot down,” the military said. “The incident … will require mutual collaborative investigation team from Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya to further understand the truth.” Kenya expressed shock over the incident earlier this week, saying the plane’s mission had been to aid Somalia in tackling the coronavirus pandemic.
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Soldiers from Ethiopia and Kenya are among those deployed to Somalia as part of an AU peacekeeping mission to fight the armed group al-Shabab. The shooting down of the plane comes amid strained ties between Kenya and Somalia. Last month, Kenya accused Somali troops of an “unwarranted attack” across its border near Mandera, a northern outpost town, describing the incident as a provocation. Somalia, meanwhile, has long accused its larger neighbour of meddling in its internal affairs, something Kenya has denied.

What Kenya Stands to Lose and Gain By Withdrawing From Somalia:

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Kenya has started negotiating a withdrawal from Somalia by 2021. The country is set to leave as Ethiopia’s influence continues to rise.

Kenya has achieved a lot since it intervened in 2011. Its intervention was a “game changer”, contributing to a momentum that led to al-Shabaab losing all major Somali cities. But it has fallen short of its goals to subdue al-Shabaab and end terrorism in Kenya. And it will leave a Somalia where its rivals are gaining power and challenging Kenyan national interests.

The intervention

Kenya’s public motive for intervening in 2011 was self-defence. Its defence forces moved into Somalia to stop al-Shabaab attacks and improve the country’s internal security. Since then, al-Shabaab has lost territorial control over all of Somalia’s larger cities. In 2012, Kenya reclaimed Kismayo. In the same year, it convinced Ethiopia to join the fight.

The combined forces of Kenya and Ethiopia were redeployed under the African Union Mission to Somalia. This was crucial in containing al-Shabaab between 2012 and 2016. This combined force weakened the terror group to the point that it is now unable to hold territories within Somali cities.

But this still does not mean that the intervention was successful. Since it began, al-Shabaab has launched three large attacks in Kenya. In 2013, it attacked Westgate Mall in Nairobi. In 2015, it attacked Garissa University in northeastern Kenya. And last year it attacked the Dusit Hotel complex, also in the capital.

By late 2019, al-Shabaab’s infiltration in Kenya’s northeast intensified, and locals are increasingly accommodating their presence.

The situation in the area around the coastal town of Lamu is similar. Al-Shabaab is taking advantage of animosities between the Muslim Bajunis and the Christian elite who settled in the area in the 1970s.

Broadly speaking, Kenya has managed to curtail al-Shabaab activities in trouble spots in Kilifi and Mombasa. The country also managed to return a large number of foreign fighters to Somalia without much blow-back. Yet the intervention of 2011 failed to keep Kenya completely safe.

Nor did it fully vanquish al-Shabaab. The group is still strong, despite having lost much of its territory. It is richer than ever, propelled by its efficient taxing of the Somali business community, tolled checkpoints and investments, including some in the agricultural sector. Its leadership structure remains intact, with many key officers having served more than four years.

Kenya’s dilemmas

Kenya’s withdrawal from Somalia will have its own drawbacks. For one, it will abandon its long-time allies inside Somalia. Thus, it will lose leverage with both Addis Ababa and Mogadishu.

The government of Somalia’s president, known as Farmajo, has increasingly been at odds with Kenya. The two countries are currently in a diplomatic row over their shared maritime border.

Second, Farmajo’s agenda to place his preferred candidates in political office in Somalia’s regional states has challenged Kenya’s allies in Somalia and especially the regional state of Jubaland.

It has become clear that Farmajo is willing to draw Ethiopian forces as well as the Somali National Army into his quest to consolidate power by appointing political allies. This has pitched Ethiopia against Kenya, and created tension. Ethiopian forces have recently intervened in support of the Somali government in Mogadishu, targeting the enemies of the Farmajo government. That government has been increasingly willing to use military force against the opposition (as well as the Somali media, and against the regional state of Jubaland, led by Kenyan ally Ahmed Mohamed Islam “Madobe”.

Kenya leaves a Somalia where neighbouring Ethiopia plays an increasing role, and also works against Kenya’s former allies. Also, there are stronger totalitarian tendencies on the part of the Somali presidency than before.

Its withdrawal will leave Ethiopia with a dominating position in the African Union Mission to Somalia. As Ethiopia’s alliance with Farmajo is strong, this is bad news for the Somali opposition, including allies of Kenya.

By withdrawing, Kenya has also let its allies down. It has shown that it cannot be trusted to stay the course. Yet the withdrawal follows a wider pattern in Kenyan politics, wherein the 2011 intervention was the exception.

@ Afrika-times.com
Original post copied from #Allafrica

Somali press media

Things look grim for independent journalism in Somalia. This can also be concluded from the country’s ranking in the World Press Freedom Index: close to the bottom of the list of 180 countries. Still, the local situation does vary from region to region. In the south in particular, journalists work in fear of their life. But in the country’s northern region, Somaliland, our team do everything in their power to support and train local Somali reporters.

Envelope full of money

A journalist is interviewing a politician or businessman. At the end, the interviewee offers the reporter an envelope full of money. And if he doesn’t, the reporter asks for one himself. In Somalia, this practice has a name: Sharuur. And virtually every journalist takes part in it. The result: nearly all media reports in the country are biased and distorted. After all, you don’t bite the hand that feeds you. This means that people in Somalia have next to no access to reliable and factual information.

Journalists in Somalia run tremendous risks. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, in the past four years alone, 21 reporters in Somalia were murdered and dozens arrested in the course of their work. Nevertheless, you can still find people in the country who want to report on what is really going on, people who have the courage to refuse the stuffed envelope. We bring them together, at a location where they are safe, and train them in objective reporting.

Radio Hirad

In addition to organising trainings, at the Media Training Centre we also produce three new editions per week of the news and current affairs programme Radio Hirad. This programme includes contributions from journalists trained at our Centre. The programme is broadcast by over 20 FM stations and websites. While most journalists in Somalia are mainly interested in reporting on political developments, Radio Hirad has a strong focus on social issues. Themes like health, the position of women and adolescents in society and migration feature prominently in the broadcasts. This way, we help people who are seldom heard to share their perspectives and bring sensitive yet important topics up for discussion.

In Somali culture, the name hirad is given to those who offer travellers safe shelter and food. Free Press Unlimited in turn wishes to support the hirads of the Somali media: the journalists who work to keep the public informed in this country torn by war and corruption.

Women and Media

During a training in 2015, a young woman told how she has to hide the fact that she is a reporter from her family. “My father doesn’t know that I’m here. He doesn’t know that I’m working as a journalist. If he did, he would forbid me from doing so.” Women are underrepresented in the Somali media. As a result, subjects that are specifically relevant to them get very little exposure. We try to attract female journalists to our trainings, and support them in their work. And our efforts are starting to bear fruit. Over the past year, many of the women whom we have trained at the Centre have moved up to the position of radio station manager and made a name for themselves as journalists.

Somali media creator and journalist , Shakir Essa

Reports by Shakir Essa

Shakir Essa

Shakir Essa

Shakir Essa served as manager at somaliland press media and Somali news tv

Get in touch with the shakir essa posts, videos, news article's, He is the presenter of both africa times news (sub saharan africa) and digital media creator(infographics video). shakir is a senior contributor at the africa times news (afrika-times.com

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