IFJ Condemns Threats and Intimidation against Journalists in Somalia

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has condemned today the threats and intimidations against journalists in Somalia after the head of an Islamic militia group in Somalia warned journalists against reports which are critical of the movement.

“We condemn this climate of terror and intimidation against journalists in Somalia,” said Gabriel Baglo, Director of IFJ Africa Office. “It is against press freedom and ethical journalism to interfere in journalists’ work.”

According to media reports the Emir Sheik Muktar Abdirahman (Abu Subeyr) of the islamist Al Shabaab militia yesterday warned the journalists against any information which would be contrary to the views of his militia and further called on them take part in the Jihad.

The IFJ says Somali journalists work in one of the most hostile environments after two journalists were killed since the start of the year and several others have been subjected to various forms of threats and intimidation.

Arbitrary arrests and detention of journalists continue unabated in various parts of the country, including the arrests of Jama Ayanle Feyte on March 30 in Puntland for alleged slander and of Muhyadin Hassan Mohamed of radio Shabelle on April 17 for alleged broadcast of false news. The latter was later released.

Journalists Muktar Mohamed Atosh, Mohamed Adawe Adan, and Mohamed Nur Mohamed respectively director, editor-in-chief and reporter of radio Jubbaa were also  arrested on April 26.

IFJ urges all warring groups in Somalia to stop this intimidation campaign against journalists and calls on the Somali authorities to make sure that the safety of journalists is protected in order to make freedom of the press and expression become a reality again in this country.

“Journalists in Somalia continue to pay a heavy price for informing the public,” added Baglo. “It is time the government ensures they are properly protected.”

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The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 123 countries worldwide