IFJ Presses UN Rights Body to Call for Review of Press Law in Somalia

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today called for the review of the new press law in Somalia which has been widely condemned as repressive and an attempt to silence independent reporting.

The call was made during an Interactive Dialogue on the report of the Independent Expert, Bahame Tom Nyanduga, on the situation of human rights in Somalia which took place at the 27th Session of UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Mr. Nyanduga raised concerns over the protection of freedom of expression in Somalia, citing reports of ‘harassment, intimidation and arbitrary killings of journalists and threats directed at media houses, such as the closure of private radio stations.”

In relation to the new media law, the Independent Expert also confirmed that he had written to the Somali President, noting that “the adoption of the media law was a key towards the implementation of the human rights road map and encouraged (…) a law which guarantees the right to freedom of expression, access to information and existence of free media.”

In a statement to the Council, the IFJ said that the new law, due to its government bias and unfettered powers over journalists’ affairs, is a far cry from the guarantees sought by the Independent Expert and expectations of the media community in Somalia.

The Federation called on the UN Human Rights Council to request the Government of Somali to review the law and end its crackdown on independent journalists, especially the leadership of the National Union of Journalists (NUSOJ), an IFJ affiliate.

The Full IFJ Statement to the Human Rights Council on Somalia is available HERE