IFJ Urges Somali Government, Ethiopian Forces, Other Armed Groups to Stop Targeting Media

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today urged the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of Somalia, Ethiopian Forces and the armed groups opposing them to stop targeting journalists and media houses in Somalia after recent bomb attacks on two television broadcasters and a newspaper in Mogadishu injured two journalists and killed a civilian bystander.

At least three media house were shelled last week during violent battles in Mogadishu. The situation has become so dangerous, the IFJ said, that several local media have stopped operations due to fears for workers’ safety.

“We strongly condemn these attacks and express our solidarity with Somali journalists and media workers,” said Gabriel Baglo, director of the IFJ Africa office. “We urge all the armed factions to stop targeting journalists and media houses. We also call on the Transitional Government to conduct a serious investigation into these attacks.”

A civilian was killed on Saturday by a bomb attack on the headquarters of Ayaamaha Newspaper. He is not believed to have worked for the newspaper.

The private radio and television group HornAfrik was hit by seven shells on Saturday. Journalist Yahye Ali Farah was slightly injured and cameraman Abdi Dhaqane was seriously wounded. According to the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), Dhaqane who also works for Reuters news agency, lost fingers on his right hand and had serious wounds on his right leg. Reuters helped to evacuate him to Nairobi for treatment. HornAfrik was temporarily closed due to the bombing.

On 19 April a private radio and television group Global Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), was bombed. Several pieces of equipment were damaged and GBC offices have been shut since then.

“Journalists and news media cannot be considered as military objectives. The attacks are abrupt and unjustified,” said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ’s Secretary General.

The IFJ called on the TFG, backers of the Ethiopian forces and the other armed groups to respect the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1738 of 23 December 2006 which says that journalists in armed conflicts are considered civilians and attacks on them may be considered war crimes.

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

The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 115 countries