On March 28, 2010, Somali TV releases a video explaining Census 2010 to Somali American viewers. Somali TV is a weekly Somali-language show that airs on the Seattle Cable Access Network.The video is part of the Census Bureau's efforts to explain what information census workers will gather and to encourage individuals in immigrant communities to fill out their census forms. During Somali TV's four years on the air, it has covered the Somali community in Seattle and in other American cities and provided Somali news. In addition to its weekly show, Somali TV produces videos in Somali explaining public services in King County. It is heavily involved in Somali community events.
Counting the People
The census video was created in response to concerns that immigrant communities have not been accurately counted in recent censuses due to fears among community members that the census forms would be used to track down undocumented (illegal) immigrants. Additionally, misinformation or a lack of understanding about the purpose and confidentiality of the information gathered has made some immigrants wary of filling out the forms or answering questions posed by census workers.
In order to increase participation, government agencies tried new ways to get information about the census to people. The Census Bureau reached out to advocacy groups and ethnic media. The City of Seattle formed the 2010 Complete Count Committee, which included representatives from many different ethnic groups in the city.
To increase participation rates among Somali Americans, which many think were significantly undercounted in 2000, the Census Bureau worked with Somali TV (also known as SomTV) to create a video that would explain how the census works and why the information is gathered. Somali TV host Xabeeb interviewed Ahmed Scego, a Somali American who worked for the Census Bureau. In addition to the video, Scego appeared on Somali TV's regular weekly show to discuss the census.
The Census Bureau also worked with Somali Community Services of Seattle, Afrique Services Center, Hope Academic Enrichment Center, East African Community Services, and other local Somali agencies to encourage participation in the census count.
It remains to be seen if the 2010 count will be more inclusive. According to the Census Bureau website, Seattle had 77 percent participation, which is 5 percent higher than in 2000.
Information and Service
Somali TV is broadcast via the Seattle Cable Access Network, SCAN. Serving as a source of information for the local Somali community, it covers Seattle-area Somali community news, Somali stories from other American cities, and news from Somalia.
The show's website and social media sites link to national and international news. SOMTV also provides information about government services, broadcasting Somali-language videos on subjects like the King County Wastemobile and how to use King County's public transportation system. SOMTV also promotes community events such as soccer tournaments and Somali Independence Day celebrations.