#WPFD Nima Hassan Abdi: “Access to information from relevant authorities does not exist”

Nima Hassan Abdi is a Somali journalist who has worked in the media sector for 16 years, mainly in the electronic media, where she had both professional and leadership roles. She is also the organising secretary of the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ). In the last four years, she has worked with the union in the struggle for free and independent media and free unionism from oppression and persecution. She has led the fight against gender inequality and discrimination against women journalists.

Credit: IFJ Journalist Nima Hassan Abdi

1. What is your biggest concern for press freedom in your country?

"The biggest concern is oppression.  Authorities in Somalia tend to arrest journalists arbitrarily with unsubstantiated charges, laxity in the existing laws while some of them are obsolete, and impunity which shields culprits. Journalists are killed in different parts of the country.  Another concern is the threat from Al Shabab extremists who seek to rule through violence and cruelty.  Journalists have been terrorized to the extent that they cannot talk or report about the atrocities committed by the militants".  

 2. What are your daily challenges as a journalist? 

"The main difficulty is reporting from highly hostile areas where suicide attacks are common. Journalists are caught in the middle of cross fire between militants and security forces. They are also targeted in booby trapped car attacks while there are restrictions of movements in the main cities. Access to information from relevant authorities does not exist. Very often political sides release fake information disguised as real news".  

 3. What are the most important stories to cover right now?

 "Covid-19 and how it has affected Somalia economically and socially. We need to report on how well we are prepared for the pandemic and how best we can contain it.  However, journalists do not have personal protective equipment. Rape cases are on the rise in my country even though the government has proposed anti sexual offences bill, which is being blocked in Parliament. We need more protection and awareness programmes on sexual offences, as a key priority to curb the menace".

For more Information, please contact the IFJ - Africa Office

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