Imran Chohan

Imran Chohan

By Somalilandtribune editorial team

It is with great pleasure and enthusiasm that we introduce Somaliland Tribune, a new English online publication based in the Somaliland Capital of Hargeisa. This publication has been in the making for quite some time now and the venture which initially was conceived as improbable has eventually come to fruition.

The great strides made by the people of Somaliland towards peace, stability and prosperity has not gone unnoticed throughout the globe, and this has only served to fuel interest in Somaliland, her people and the vast potential it boasts. It has recently become apparent that despite this enormous interest in Somaliland, there has been a tremendous gulf in the lack of consistent, first hand, informative and fresh English published news coming out of Somaliland. For a long time, the onus of reporting outside Somaliland has principally been the precinct of the foreign media.

Not by any means has the coverage by foreign media been anything short of favorable on Somaliland and its achievements ― and not to take anything away the splendid work which the local media have done so far ― the space occupied by the local media outlets in Somaliland nevertheless has not fully succeeded in capturing and disseminating the success story that is Somaliland and the challenges it faces at she heads towards attaining full-fledged international recognition it so much deserves.

Somaliland Tribune thus by filling this void endeavors to reach a more diverse audience both home and abroad. Equally important, this maiden editorial piece envisages to set the tone for the vision of this publication which has set as its goal to uphold high standards of journalism and live up to its core in-house principles of accuracy, impartiality and professionalism besides taking the principal role of  an informative news outlet. It is tacitly acknowledged that the field of journalism which once was a noble profession is currently facing its biggest ever threat. In this age of information characterized by convergence and social media ― where anyone can be a reporter and publishing is just a matter of mouse click away ― the mainstream media (which nowadays includes digital media) has never felt so marginalized.

At the center of our interest as audience are the people of diaspora who have never ceased to be away from home in spirit and the ‘returnees’ who after struggling with nostalgic trappings have found their feet and are once again building their lives in Somaliland. Thanks to the local Somali language media, the Somaliland diaspora ― whose immense contribution to the reconstruction of Somaliland cannot be overemphasized ― have largely been kept up date with events at home. Conversely, as it has been attested, many young Somalilanders living abroad and subsequent generations born immigrant families have increasingly become detached from their motherland. Still, a sizeable number of young people have taken initiative upon themselves and along the way have discovered the pleasures and opportunities which land of their forefathers promises. The young people are the future of this country and it is not for the sake of this cliché, Somaliland truly needs it young brains and this publication will strive to serve as a bridge between this nation and its young people anywhere in the world. As for the foreigners working and living in Somaliland and the civic organisations operating in this country, this publication is for them as is for everyone else.

It will indeed be a great disservice not to pay homage to the efforts and sacrifice made by the people of Somaliland in this maiden edition. It is because of the people of Somaliland patriotism, determination, resilience, leadership and vision that we at Somaliland Tribune are able to reach you today. We pay our tribute and honour the people who stayed behind and were on guard during the trying times as well as for the departed peaceful souls who were not lucky to witness the rise from the ruins towards the path leading to self-determination.

At Somaliland Tribune, it is our duty to remind our readers that the hallmark of any genuine modern nation state besides other attributes, is defined by an independent and impartial media which should and must be allowed to operate in a free environment. The famous English writer George Orwell in one of his lesser known essay on freedom of the press could not have said it better when he wrote: “if liberty means anything at all it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” However, telling people what they do not want to hear also means consistently subscribing to the set journalistic code of conduct and ethics at all times; and if censorship ever bites, let it be self-censorship and rightly so.

Many challenges lie ahead and it would naive to assume otherwise. The price of responsibility in this profession is accountability, and under no circumstance are we ready to shirk our obligations. We are deeply honoured and looking forward to start this journey with you.