Thursday January 16, 2020
MOGADISHU (HOL) - Regional governments were the worst perpetrators of violations against journalists in 2019 accounting for 83% of reported cases, the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) has said in a report.The report, Death, Detention and Duress released Wednesday by NUSOJ noted journalists suffered most in the hands of regional authorities with many of them arrested, harassed and even slapped with jail terms.
“The annual report reveals that 84.3% of the documented attacks against journalists and media houses in 2019 were committed by perpetrators in the Regional Administrations or Federal Member States,” a statement from NUSOJ said.
The Federal Government including police and army were responsible for 11.7% of media freedom violations while the militant group Al-Shabaab was as responsible for 3.6% of the incidents reported in 2019, the report says.
Three journalists were killed with Al-Shabaab claiming responsibility. For the first time in ten years, the report notes, no journalist was killed or wounded in Mogadishu according to the report.
NUSOJ Secretary General Omar Farouk said violations of rights of journalists remained undeterred.
“The 2019 year ended with serious challenges to the media in general and journalists in particular. The intolerance of journalists’ independence accompanied by the abuse of governmental organs, continue to place journalists in dangerous situations.”
Twenty-five (25) journalists were arrested in different regions of Somalia because of their media work. One journalist, Abdimalik Oldoon is serving a three-year jail term in Hargeisa following his sentencing in July 2019.
The report cites instances where authorities in Jubbaland ‘bought plane tickets for critical or outspoken journalists and deported them to Mogadishu’ in the run-up to the presidential elections in September.
“Despite constitutional guarantees and some relative improvements, the noble struggle for media freedom in Somalia is far from over. Inhibitive laws need to be challenged, impunity needs to be tackled head on, and enemies of freedom of expression must be exposed,” Osman.