IFJ Calls for Action to Protect Somali Media after Murders of Five Journalists in 2009

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has urged

the international community to help stop violence against media in Somalia

after the murder of Muktar Mohamed Hirabe, Director of Radio Shabelle in

Mogadishu, who was shot dead by gunmen in the war ravaged Somali Capital,

Mogadishu, on Sunday 7 June 2009.

The IFJ Executive Committee, meeting in Oslo, Norway from 6 to 7 June ,

passed a motion tabled by Omar Farouk Osman, General Secretary of the National

Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), condemning Muktar's murder which brought

the total number of journalists killed in Somalia in 2009 to five.

"The IFJ Executive Committee is deeply disturbed that,

in the face of on going press freedom violations in Somalia and growing deadly attacks

against journalists, no action has been taken by the authorities," said the

motion. "The Executive Committee calls on all the international organisations

and global institutions that advocate peace, human rights and democracy to break

the silence and help bring an end to these heinous acts against journalists in Somalia."

The IFJ Executive Committee further supported NUSOJ

request to establish an international commission of inquiry to bring out the

truth about these killings and expressed its full solidarity with - and support

to - members and leaders of the National Union of Somali Journalists in their

continuing efforts to end the rampant culture of impunity and bring to justice the

killers of their murdered colleagues.

According to the National Union of Somali Journalists,

two men armed with pistols fired at Muktar on Sunday as he was walking with his

colleague Ahmed Omar Hashi (Tajir), news editor of Radio Shabelle, in Bakara

Market. Muktar was shot five times in the head and died on the spot while Mohamed

sustained serious injuries and is in a critical condition in hospital.

Muktar, 48, is the fifth journalist murdered in Somalia in 2009 and the third journalist of Radio

Radio Shabelle to be killed in Mogadishu

this year. He had received safety training from NUSOJ and INSI in June 2008 on

how to report in hostile environment.

"Journalists are not victims of the conflict in Somalia," said Osman introducing

the motion. "The murder of Muktar, an experienced, respected and popular

journalist is another act of violence by those seeking to silence the media. Our

colleagues who put their lives on the line every day to inform their

communities and the world need protection."

Muktar's murder occurred on the first anniversary of

that of former NUSOJ Vice President, Naster Daher Farah who was killed on 7

June 2008 in Kismayu.

For more information contact the IFJ

at   +32 2 235 2207       

The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists

in 123 countries worldwide