The National Constituent Assembly (NCA) was the final step in adopting the interim Constitution which will establish the form and nature of the Somali Government beyond 20th Aug 2012 and the end of the Transition. The interim constitution forms the basis for further consultations leading to the development of a permanent constitution to be put to the Somali people via a referendum. Conferring legitimacy on this, a significant point on the Road Map, has been critical.
The IST* plan for international coverage facilitated media reports outside of the country, with journalists visiting Mogadishu over this period from The London Times, Al Jazeera TV, 6 journalists from Ugandan media, and the BBC. But as important as this was, Somali media coverage was critical. The Somali population and diaspora, the vital audiences if support is to be achieved, needed to be informed of the process and progress of the Assembly.
To achieve this IST prepared a plan to provide comprehensive coverage of the NCA in a three part package, enabling Somalis to connect to the NCA via the main channels of Somali media.
1) Before the NCA programmes were produced about the Constitution and NCA.
2) During the NCA the proceedings, interviews and comment were made available live and recorded for radio and television broadcast.
3) The products from 1 and 2 were disseminated to the major Somali media, reaching populations in Somalia and the diaspora.
1) Some short video links were produced, providing IDs for the proposed broadcasts.
2) “New Day, New Somalia”
3) “It’s yours and mine”
4) “Voice of the Diaspora”
5) The website Dastuurkeenna.com was launched to provide a comprehensive platform to complement the broadcast coverage of the NCA.
- The Constitution
- Still images
The NCA started on July 25th after several stalled start-dates preceding this. It ran for a period of 9 days, but for one of these there were no proceedings, making the working period for the NCA 8 days from July 25th to the closing on August 2nd.
IST installed a relay from the NCA venue which was available to most stations in Mogadishu. Radio Mogadishu and Radio Bar Kulan broadcast the proceedings live and prepared special inserts. The live audio feed was made available to all radio stations via the streaming, with announcements giving access on Dastuurkeenna.
A photographer covered all open session of the NCA and atmosphere/background shots. These were posted daily on Dastuurkeenna.
A production team comprising journalists, producers, editors and three camera crew covered all the open session of the NCA. This was made available via recorded files offered to all TV channels attending, and via live streaming.
From the opening day all open sessions were made available via live streaming on USTREAM, and as selectable videos on Dastuurkeenna and Soomaalo.com’s YouTube. This method of dissemination proved to be very successful, with many reports from the diaspora viewing the channel, and a report that at BBC Somali the streaming informed the unit during the entire proceedings.
In addition to live streaming the installation made it possible to broadcast live on SNTV. This was ground-breaking programming, the channel not have broadcast live before. Viewing figures are not available for this channel but the broadcast attracted a lot of feed back to the station.
Full coverage, blogs, photos, videos and documents were published on Dastuurkeenna.com. Additionally, Somali websites Hiran, Jawhar, Raxareeb and Wardheer placed a banner advertisement on their front pages with a link to Dastuurkeenna.
Coverage of the 8 days of the NCA included
TV Live Broadcast: SNTV
Live streaming: USTREAM
TV News: Universal TV, Somali Channel. Horn Cable, S24
TV Programmes: Feature and interviews
Live radio: RBK, RM
Radio News: Radio Shabelle, Risala, Xamar
Webcasting: Soomaalo/YouTube, Dastuurkeenna, USTREAM
Blog: Most days, including a report from Minister Hosh
Website news: Hiran, Jawhar, Raxareeb and Wardheer
Photo posting: photos of the day on Dastuurkeenna
TV Global: UNIFEEED news report disseminated world-wide
Over the period of the conference the live streaming on USTREAM/Soomaalo achieved more than 60,000 views. 19 videos posted on Soomaalo/YouTube achieved 1120 views.
Dastuurkeenna received over 100,000 hits from launch up to August 2nd.
Despite the problems during preparation and installation, significant coverage and dissemination through the anticipated channels was achieved, with all major Somali TV, radio and web publishers provided with suitable live and recorded material. The aim of informing the Somali population and diaspora was achieved, as far as broadcast and on-line media dissemination can so do.
*Albany manages the UN/AU Information Support Team (IST) for Somalia from offices based in Nairobi. Within a multi-stakeholder environment, IST tasks include media mapping and monitoring, polling, domestic and international outreach programmes, communication capacity building and direct support to the Somali media.