IFJ Rebukes Somalia Over Intimidation of Journalists

The International Federation of Journalists, the world’s largest journalists’ organisation, today protested over a series of incidents of intimidation against journalists in Somalia and called for wider protection for media in the country.

On 24 May, the Puntland Intelligence Service (PIS) detained two journalists who are among the staff of Somali Broadcasting Corporation in the port town of Bossasso. The two journalists, editor Mowliid Haji Abdi and reporter Mohamud Abdirahman Rod, were imprisoned illegally for a short time, according to the Somali Journalists Network (SOJON) the local affiliate of the IFJ.

“These incidents are deplorable,” said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. “They reflect a general atmosphere of insecurity and anarchy in which journalists and other innocent civilians are subject to violence and intimidation.”

In a recent incident veteran journalist Abdalla Nuradin Ahmed of HornAfrica radio station was shot and wounded in Mogadishu. A man with a pistol attacked Nuradin injuring him in the shoulder, chest and right hand. He is reported to be in a critical condition.

Last month the Puntland police targeted journalists and the headquarters of Shacal weekly newspaper in Garowe following claims of defamation by the Puntland president. Shacab journalists have been arrested and some property destroyed. The Puntland Council of Ministers also decided to suspend temporarily the newspaper.

“We condemn the latest actions by the Puntland authorities against SBC journalists without reservation,” said White. “Our colleagues should be released immediately and the suspension of Shacab newspaper lifted.”

The IFJ says that the Federal government, which is due to relocate to the country as the security situation eases, should take responsibility for the security and protection of all citizens. “In particular, action must be taken to lift the pressure that is currently facing all journalists.”

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