IFJ Condemns Looting of Radio Stations by Somali Forces

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today condemned the looting of three radio stations by Somali forces and called on the Transitional Federal Government to ensure the immediate return of their equipment so they can start rebroadcasting without delay. Some of the stations’ employees were also assaulted during the incident.

“We are outraged by this new crackdown on the media which should not continue to be the scapegoat of the conflict in the country,” said Gabriel Baglo, Director of the IFJ Africa office. “The Transitional Federal Government (TFG) must ensure the equipment is returned, hold those responsible to account and provide assurances to the Somali media community that such raids will not be tolerated in future.”

On Sunday 2 March, government forces stormed the premises of Radio Simba, Radio Shabelle and Horn Afrik the three top radio stations of Mogadishu. The troops took computers, cameras and radio equipment.

According to the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), journalist Abdiaziz Hussein Hassan was assaulted by the forces during the attack at Radio Simba. The day before, a rocket had hit the Radio Simba building destroying the station’s archives.

The acting director of Shabelle Radio, Mukhtar Mohamed Hirabe, was also briefly detained.

“We believe that journalists' ability to report freely is essential to the nonviolent resolution of conflicts, and that suppression of the media during periods of unrest or armed operations only increases fear and suspicion among the people,” said Omar Faruk, the Secretary General of the National Union of Somali Journalists, NUSOJ.

For further information contact the IFJ: +221 33 842 01 43

The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries