Thursday September 16, 2021
MOGADISHU (HOL) - Somalia’s transition to democracy cannot happen in an environment where freedom of expression and media freedom are disregarded and abused at will by the political class, a local media watchdog has warned amid the horn of African nation is in preparation to hold presidential elections in October.
In a statement issued on the eve of the International Day of Democracy, National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) has urged both the FGS and the FMS to trustworthily recommit to the protection of freedom of expression and media freedom as key tenets to the realisation of a free, democratic.
“More than ever, political leadership and Statesmanship is now needed, to ensure that journalists and news media organisations operate in an atmosphere free of threats, harassment and where information is freely accessible to citizens. All political leaders in every corner of the country are duty-bound to protect media freedom,” said NUSOJ Secretary General Omar Faruk Osman. “A free and independent media where journalists work in a safe and secure environment is a key pillar in the quest for durable peace and democratic governance in Somalia.”
At least 14 cases of physical attacks, harassment, intimidation and threats directed at journalists and media organizations have been recorded in the first of 2021, according to NUSOJ.
“It is deplorable that these attacks, which are calculated to instill fear and stifle independent reporting by the media have been mostly carried out by members of the security forces of the FGS and FMS authorities, at the behest of senior leaders who act with impunity and in blatant disregard of the law,” NUSOJ noted.
The attacks of journalists continued with tragic consequence in March 2021, when Jamal Farah Adan, a Puntland-based journalist, who had received numerous threats to his life, succumbed to injuries he sustained after being shot in Galkayo town on 1 March 2021.
Journalists at Mustaqbal radio station in Mogadishu were beaten by members of the Somali government security forces, who raided their offices, damaged the media equipment and confiscated some of their equipment from the station in April this year.
Female journalists were not spared the wrath of the Somali police, who on 16 May attacked and beaten up Fardowsa Mohamud Sahal, as she covered protests in Mogadishu. Her sound recorder and cell phone were confiscated by the police in Mogadishu.