Factors influencing the role of radio in peace building processes in Somalia
Noor, Abdi Yussuf
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Intensified efforts towards the Somalia peace building process started two years ago. The African-driven process, has given the continent an opportunity to seek solutions specific to African conflicts. The key players in the peace talks included the regional Inter- Government Authority on Development (IGAD), the Clan representatives, and the Kenya Government. Other active supporters of the process included the international committee under the auspices of the Co-ordination and Monitoring Committee comprising the African Union (AU), United Nations, the League of Arab States, the European Union and individual countries such as United States of America, United Kingdom, France and Denmark, as well as civil society agencies. The notion that media, and radio in particular plays a role in shaping audience perception has become hard to challenge. Radio broadcasts have been used as a tool to inflame grievances and accelerate violent conflicts in many parts of Africa and across the globe. In Rwanda, for example, both state owned and private radios were used to lay the groundwork for genocide, so as in Serbia where both radio and television were manipulated to stir ethnic tensions prior to civil war. The concept of social responsibility is an ideal mechanism for Radio HornAfrik to support reconciliation and peace building a mid the persistent conflict in Somalia. Radio HornAfrik, as an influential source of information for the Somali audiences was observed to have effectively support reconciliation and peace building. The study further recommends parties to the conflict to respected press freedom in Somalia. Specialized training in peace building for media practioners will help more in emphasizing the role of media in peace building. The general objective of this study was to examine factors affecting the role of radio in peace building process in Somalia. Radio HornAfrik based Mogadishu was selected for a case study. Specifically, the study sought to determine the factors influencing the role of radio broadcasting in peace building initiatives, Identify the major obstacles and problems hindering radio journalism to make positive contribution to peace building processes in Somalia, and examine the extent to which Radio HornAfrik is involved in issues of conflict and peace-building processes in Somalia. A survey carried out indicate that radio: HornAfrik was most listened to and the most preferred radio station. It was established that it aired more peace related programs as compared to the other radio stations. Opinion survey indicates that peace programmes on radio broadcast decreased conflict.