Home NEWS IN ENGLISH Somalia media community decries worsening press freedom, calls for accountability for perpetrators

Somalia media community decries worsening press freedom, calls for accountability for perpetrators


In a gathering in Mogadishu on Monday, the local media community decried the worsening media freedom in Somalia as they made a call urging top leadership of the federal government to respect journalists’ rights and their safety.

They said the Somali journalists play a crucial role in the country’s pursuit of lasting peace, stability and democracy. However, the sad reality is that government officials who are keen on making an example of targeted journalists, are increasingly resorting to sham trials and persecution against journalists deemed to be critical to authorities.
“When president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was campaigning, he was claiming that he wanted to allow free press and create a safe space for journalists. Unfortunately he has done the vice versa,” said Mohamed Bulbul, the Secretary of Information for the Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS), who reports for Universal TV.
Deputy Minister of Information
The media groups and the journalists at the gathering on Monday expressed dismay about the October 8 ban on disseminating ‘extremist ideology’ issued by the ministry of information which they described as overly broad, vague and leaves the door open to abuse by overzealous security and government officials.
One brutal official named during the meeting is the current deputy minister of information, Abdirahman Yusuf Omar [popularly known as al Adaala], a known perpetrator of press freedom.
“Mr. Al-Adaala is the kingpin responsible for attacking and persecuting the secretary-general of SJS, Abdalle Ahmed Mumin. That is not the only case: In 2020, he authorised the kidnaping, torture and persecution of Mohamed Abduwahab Abuuja, a vulnerable Somali bantu journalist in Mogadishu,” he added.
In September 2021, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD) declared the arrest and detention of journalist Mohamed Abdiwahab Nuur (“Abuuja”) an arbitrary and in violation of international law.  Despite the UNWGAD also recommended reparations for the journalist, perpetrators such as Al-Adaala continued to plot more attacks on the journalists and press freedom advocates.  His latest target is the renowned journalist and media freedom advocate, Abdalle Ahmed Mumin who was detained on 11 October following a joint press conference by the media advocates including SJS.
According to Mohamed Abdiwahab, the director of the independent Radio Risaala, detaining a leading defender of human rights and press freedom is an indicative of how the authorities are clearly attacking media outlets and journalists they consider critical to them.
“Targeting Abdalle Mumin has sent a chilling effect to all media community. Freedom of the speech is a basic human rights and any attack on a journalist is a human rights violation. Unfortunately, those who are committing this human rights violation are still enjoying in the government positions.  This country is going nowhere as long as impunity persists,” added Abdiwahab.
The media advocates urged the federal government to demonstrate a political will to prosecute crimes committed against journalists and media workers.
“The injustice and lack of accountability has dragged Somalia behind. We ask the top government leadership to act immediately and carry out thorough investigations to hold accountable of those responsible foe the attacks of the journalists,” said the secretary-general of the Somali Media Association, anther independent media houses group.
They also urged the international community to play their role in ensuring that press freedom and other essential human rights — without which democracies cannot exist — are protected


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