Slightly over a decade ago, David Shin advised that to control Somali speakers and impart assigned guidelines of indoctrinated policies upon them all to fruitful results, one has only to supply all Somali speakers whether in towns and rural areas with a one dollar or so (the then price) of small portable transistor radios!
However cruel or far-fetched the statement may be, the crux of the matter is how painfully true the facts homed in for his justifiable sentiments!
What the eminent academic cum diplomat meant was that the oral nature, underdevelopment and long time dependency on the gadget them take radio news, commentaries and opinions very seriously. Thus, to them, anything said through the BBC or the VOA for that matter, is the truth and nothing but the whole truth!
It is against this background that the THT takes similarly quite seriously the sad and potentially explosive statements that we heard being aired by the largest followers of Somali speaking world broadcasting house; the BBC Somali Service.
In yesterday’s afternoon Somali program “Tonight and the World” the BBC’s local correspondent A.S. Egge gave the insinuation that “there were demonstrations that rocked the nation in various regions with the population completely against the Dubai Ports World investment plans for Berbera port”.
The veteran journalist was then interviewing two MPs about the issue on the same morning that the state tabled the motion on the subject in the parliament.
The manner of tailoring, fabricating, influencing opinion shaping or associated actions are tools of the trade well known in the media world when issues are to supposed be distorted with ulterior motives.
While we respect the local BBC Somali language correspondent, we take a strong objection in the supposed anti DP world demos that he alleged.
What was seen at demos were in fact on two aspects which were quite different.
People who were angered by a court decision to convict and pass sentences on Berbera police commander was one.
The other demo was only staged by the dock workers who sought to be highlighted on their plight if the management of the port changed hands in the future; hence it was confined around their location.
There was no any one time whatsoever that Somalilanders mobilized demonstrations against the planned port plans anywhere and at any one time.
If at all people or individuals gave comments against the venture and were aired by media houses who specifically went to them and sought their views, that (or those) are NOT demos.
Individual opinions is what we have been seeing and hearing.
Given the manner our people are hooked on BBC and VOA radios, we are quite perturbed by what the correspondent was trying to put across.
This column is depressed by being haunted by truth of the facts that David Shin highlighted 11 or 12 years ago. We had then made a long exclusive coverage on the fears of such scenarios.
It is the fear of the repercussions of such intentional (or not) manner of fueling virility, dissent or hostility is what we are dismayed about and quite wary of, especially in an aura of electioneering climatic fevers.
Worst of all, the mode which was thus used, was inherently belonging to none other than the British government; precisely the BBC power house.
Do the BBC support such undermining policies spelt out by their own that may unravel upheavals?