Somali Magazine – Fathi Mohamed Ahmed is a beacon of hope and resilience in the challenging landscape of Somali journalism. As the chief editor of Bilan, Somalia’s first all-women, editorially independent media unit, she has been instrumental in shining a light on taboo topics and giving a voice to the voiceless.
Born into s society where journalism is considered a most dangerous profession, especially for women, Fathi’s journey into the media world was not an easy one. Her interest in journalism was sparked at a young age by her grandmother, who made it a habit of listening to BBC radio every day. Despite her family’s initial disapproval, Fathi secretly pursued a media course. When her father discovered her passion, he insisted she stop, fearing it would bring shame to their family. However, Fathi’s determination was unwavering. She continued her studies, eventually earning an internship at a local media outlet.
In April 2023, Fathi and her team celebrated the first anniversary of Bilan. The media house, whose name means “shining a light” in Somali¹, has covered a wide range of topics from HIV to opioids. One of Fathi’s most challenging stories was on female drug addiction in Somalia. Despite threats and accusations of damaging the reputation of her country, Fathi persisted, ultimately leading to an advocacy group offering help to tackle female drug abuse.
Fathi’s courage extends beyond her professional life. She faced public abuse and sexism, especially during her pregnancy. Yet, she remained undeterred, continuing to work and inspire her colleagues. Her work has not only highlighted societal issues but also elicited compassionate responses from the public, leading to donations and government intervention.
Despite the challenges, Fathi Mohamed Ahmed continues to change the narrative for women journalists in Somalia. Her story is a testament to the power of perseverance and the impact one woman can have in changing society. As she continues to shine her light, Fathi is not just reporting the news; she is making it.
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