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FESOJ report shows 28 cases of violations against Somali journalists in past year

Hassan Istiila
Saturday May 4, 2024

Mogadishu (HOL) - At least 28 cases of violations against Somali journalists, including killings and arrests, have been recorded between May 2023 and May 2024, highlighting Somalia's status as one of the most dangerous environments for journalists.

The Federation of Somali Journalists (FESOJ) released its annual report, titled "Somali government violated media law it previously endorsed, undermining Press Freedom," on World Press Freedom Day, Friday, May 3, 2024.

According to the FESOJ report, three journalists were killed: one in Abudwaq District, Galmudug, another in a suicide bombing in Mogadishu, and the third succumbed to long-term injuries caused by a bomb attached to his vehicle.

The report also highlighted that 20 other journalists were detained in the last year; one journalist was tortured, one was kidnapped, one journalist fled his area due to threats, and one radio and one TV station were attacked and closed.

"Journalists continue to be arrested for short periods without justification, only to be released later. Such detentions have become commonplace, even as the courts remain operational. All these challenges are aimed at threatening and silencing journalists and the media, compelling them to accept the status quo," the report stated.

Media organizations and other associations in Somalia accused the federal and regional governments of failing to respect the country's constitution and media law, which guarantee the rights of the press and freedom of expression.

In March of this year, the Somali government formed a nine-member Somali National Media Council after the country's parliament passed the media law and signed it by the President. However, the Somali Mechanism for the Safety of Journalists (SMSJ), a coalition network including seven media associations, rejected the appointment. They stated that there was no consultation with media organizations and that the newly appointed Council members were government workers.

World Press Freedom Day, established by the UN General Assembly in 1993, is dedicated to the importance of journalism and freedom of expression in the current global environmental crisis. This year's theme is "A Press for the Planet: Journalism in the Face of the Environmental Crisis."

World Press Freedom Day aims to highlight the significant role that the press, journalism, access to information, and dissemination of information play in ensuring a sustainable future.

However, the latest report from the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) in December 2023 indicated that Somalia ranked second among the worst countries in the world where journalists are harassed, moving down from the top spot it held for the previous five years.


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