Horyaal 24 TV, a news network in Somalia, recently aired an exposé showcasing a group of women in Hargeisa in a private setting chewing khat. The women were filmed singing, chewing khat and smoking cigarettes.
Khat is classified as a mild stimulant and plays a significant part in the social life of many Somalis. It is not common to see women chew khat in public due to the lack of female-friendly spaces in countries where khat is legal and the stigma that is attached to women who chew the substance.
The segment, which you can watch here, was deemed to be “unethical” by local authorities which prompted the closure of Horyaal 24 TV and the subsequent arrest of its owner. The women who were interviewed had their faces blurred for privacy reasons but seemed to be comfortable engaging with the interviewer and answered various questions regarding their habit. However, the way the topic was covered indicated that Horyaal 24 TV wasn’t adhering to journalistic standards as the women who were being interviewed were portrayed as being immoral and in need of intervention.
During a 22 minute segment on the topic, Horyaal 24 TV brought in a sheikh, a poet and a doctor who all condemned women who chew khat.
The Committee to Protect Journalist (CPJ), the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) and the Federation of Somali Journalists (FESOJ) have all urged the relevant authorities to allow Horyaal 24 TV to broadcast freely from Somaliland, despite the evident lack of journalistic integrity that was portrayed by the network when covering the topic on women who chew khat.
Horyaal 24 TV is currently broadcasting from its offices in Mogadishu.
[Image via Horyaal TV]
*This article was originally posted on our previous website on 12th September 2019.