IFJ Urges Somali Government to Guarantee Press Freedom, Safety of Journalists

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today called on the Somali government and authorities in the self-declared autonomous regions to take strong measures to guarantee press freedom and safety of journalists after a four days roundtable of media workers and civil society groups in Mogadishu.

The participants in the roundtable discussion held 19-22 January declared that the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and the authorities of Puntland and Somaliland “should support, defend and promote awareness of media freedom.” The safety of all journalists should be given the highest priority, they added.

“We welcome the holding of this important meeting and we commend the Transitional Government for sending its representatives to the meeting” said Gabriel Baglo, Director of the IFJ Africa Office. “During the last decades in Somalia too many journalists have been assaulted and killed, media houses frequently attacked making press freedom totally endangered.”

The IFJ called on the TFG and the authorities of Puntland and Somaliland to take strong measures to guarantee press freedom and the safety of journalists in Somalia.

The roundtable on “Promoting and safeguarding freedom of expression” in Mogadishu, which was organised by the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) and sponsored by UNESCO gathered forty organisations of journalists and civil society groups from Somalia and the self-declared autonomous regions of Puntland and Somaliland. The organisations recommended the withdrawal of “all laws that violate freedom of expression.”

The participants of the roundtable created the Somali Forum for Freedom of Expression (SOFFE). NUSOJ was chosen to host the secretariat of the Forum.

The IFJ also urged the government to reopen Radio Warsan, which has been shut down since 7 January, 2007.

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

The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 110 countries