The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the global voice
of journalists, has expressed fresh concern over efforts on all sides in Somalia to wipe
out independent media. The intervention follows a serious deterioration of the
situation for private media outlets operating out of Somalia's
densely populated and war-torn capital city of Mogadishu.
According to the
National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), an IFJ affiliate, the Somali
Islamist insurgent group, Hisbul Islam, has imposed bans on radio stations instructing
them not to air music and songs and to refer to foreign fighters fighting the
country not as "foreigners", but as "Muhaajiriin". Some 14 radio stations in Mogadishu buckled under this pressure and
implemented the Hisbul Islam edict after a ten-day ultimatum.
"This latest action
coming after months and years of violent intimidation illustrates the wretched
state of press freedom in Somalia,"
said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. "Journalists are in the frontline of
the struggle for peace and democracy in Somalia and they must be
The IFJ says that the
latest censorship is in line with similar actions been imposed on media stations
in the southern Somalia
regions held by Al-Shabaab Islamic extremists group. Many journalists fled or
became Al-Shabaab hostages. This group took over Radio stations in Baidoa and
The IFJ says that media have
also suffered as Somali extremist groups have put pressure on some trading
companies not to place advertisements with particular media companies. Media
and independent journalism have taken a hit too as donor support has
"The threats and
bullying of journalists and the financial uncertainty surrounding private media
have created a dangerous and despairing environment," said White. "More must be
done to support media and to ensure the survival of independent journalism."
Radio Mogadishu, which is run and controlled by the
Transitional Federation Government of Somalia (TFG), was launched to counter
propaganda of Al-Shabaab. Newly
established Radio Bar-Kulan, broadcasted in Nairobi
but transmitted in strong FM station in Mogadishu,
with the funding of the United Nations Support
Office for AMISOM (UNSOA) is widely believed by the local media to support
African Union Peace Keeping Troops in Mogadishu.
community must not reduce its commitment to fund and to support media nor
should it show hesitation in backing the private sector," said White. "These
are the vital outlets that reflect the independent voice of the Somali people.
If international support is withdrawn it will open the door to new pressure
from extremists and the enemies of press freedom."
information contact the IFJ at +32 2 235 22 07
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists
in 125 countries worldwide