Somalia: IFJ urges new government to protect journalists following savage attack

A general view of the scene following a car bomb attack in Mogadishu on March 13, 2017, a day after a Universal TV media worker was wounded in a car bomb blast. © STRINGER / AFP PHOTO

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has today joined its Somali affiliate, the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), in urging the new federal government of Somalia to respond strongly to crimes against journalists and other media workers following a targeted car bomb blast on 12 March in the capital Mogadishu. Reports said that Abdihamid Mohamed Osman, a Somali cameraman and video editor with London-based privately owned Universal TV, was seriously wounded on Sunday morning when a bomb attached to his car exploded in Mogadishu’s Hamar-weyne district while heading to work. He was taken to hospital immediately. The culprits are yet to be identified. “This latest incident attests to the danger in which the media community is working every day,” said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General. “This attack was consciously considered and carried out to harm or kill Abdihamid Mohamed Osman. We demand meaningful action from the authorities because such an act represents an attack on media freedom and against the right of Somalis to seek, receive and impart information.” “The non-stop savagery against journalists and other media practitioners in Somalia has become an endless stream of bad news for the global community of journalists. Criminal elements have adapted to use violence against Somali media,” said Anthony Bellanger, IFJ General Secretary. “The new government must end this bloody violence against the media and turn words into action.” IFJ and NUSOJ called on the new government of President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed (Farmaajo) to distance itself from the policy of the previous government which had a notorious record as one of the worst violators of journalists’ human rights, and was responsible for the imprisonment of journalists, closure of media houses, enactment of an undemocratic media law, the curtailment of union rights and the stigmatization of journalists. “Respecting journalists’ fundamental rights of freedom of expression and association will serve as a litmus test for the Farmaajo government. We shall defend and support Somali journalists and our member union, NUSOJ, in any way we can,” added Bellanger.

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