The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today condemned the actions of the Somali Transitional Federal Government officials over attempts to interfere in the internal affairs of the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ).
According to a statement issued by NUSOJ, "Personnel at the Ministry of Information, Post and Telecommunications were directly involved in an unsuccessful and illegitimate attempt for the Banadir Regional Court to stop the General Assembly" which took place in Mogadishu from 14 - 15 March 2011. NUSOJ reported that the Ministry of Information made false allegations to the office of the Attorney General in order to confiscate the passports of top union officials and stop from leaving the country.
"The actions of the Ministry of Information' officials are unwarranted and represent a serious violation on the right to peaceful assembly and movement of NUSOJ members," said Gabriel Baglo, Director of the IFJ Africa Office. "NUSOJ as a trade union organisation and an affiliate of the IFJ is guaranteed by its constitution to hold its General Assembly periodically, in order to take stock of the organisation and to democratically elect its leadership through free and fair elections. Thus, any attempt to jeopardise this peaceful gathering constitutes a serious infringement on the principles of democracy and good governance."
NUSOJ Secretary General elect, Omar Faruk called the actions of the Information, Post and Telecommunications Ministry "A naked aggression against NUSOJ and a blatant attempt to stifle the voice of journalists". He added that the Ministry and its personnel have done almost everything possible to jeopardize the general assembly of the Union in direct violation of their trade union rights.
The IFJ calls on the Somali Transitional Federal Government and the Ministry of Information in particular, to immediately desist from any form of interference into the Union affairs. The Transitional Federal Government must recognise the fundamental rights of legitimate trade unions and to ensure the provision of an enabling environment which will enhance such unions to make their contribution in the process of building a democratic country.
For more information contact the IFJ at +221 33 867 95 87
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 125 countries worldwide