News from Africa

IFJ Condemns Killing of Media Staff in Mogadishu, Clampdown on Critical Media in Somaliland

Témoignages.re / 23 April 2014

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has strongly condemned the murder of a media professional in Somalia’s capital city, Mogadishu, yesterday, Monday 21 April.

DAKAR, Senegal, April 22, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)

According to IFJ affiliate, the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), Mohamed Omar Mohamed, known as Amaar, an advertising and marketing staff at Radio Dalsan, was shot dead yesterday afternoon at the Mogadishu’s Bakara Market. His killers, who escaped from the scene, shot him several times, the NUSOJ has reported.

“This cowardly murder is a way to intimidate media professionals and journalists from freely exercising their duties. We call on authorities in Somalia to investigate this case and all crimes against the killings of journalists and to take every step necessary to end the impunity for violence and the country’s media personnel. The safety of media professionals must be a priority,” said Gabriel Baglo, IFJ Africa Director.

It is still unknown who carried out the murder as no group has claimed responsibility. The leadership of the NUSOJ has called for an immediate investigation to be held. “We denounce the murder of Mohamed Omar Mohamed and call upon the authorities to carry out urgent investigations that will shed light on the motives behind this killing and bring the perpetrators into justice,” said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General.

The IFJ has repeatedly warned authorities in Somalia that the safety of journalists and media workers must be a priority. Journalists in Somalia have been targeted again and again while reporting on issues in the public interest in their country.

In a separate incident in the semi-autonomous republic of Somaliland, the IFJ has also condemned the clampdown on critical media, in particular the internet. The NUSOJ has reported that the Somaliland administration has taken the decision to intensify its campaign to suppress and intimidate Haatuf newspaper by blocking access to its news site http://www.haatuf.net after it closed down the newspaper on 7 April 2014.

The IFJ has joined the NUSOJ in stating that the blockage is the latest evidence of what independent media see as a clampdown on critical media and particularly the Internet, a platform for disseminating views.

According to NUSOJ, the banning of the news website, which also targeted Haatuf’s sister paper http://www.somalilandtimes.net, was reportedly ordered by Hargeisa’s Marodi Jeeh Regional Court on 16 April and internet service providers were ordered to carry out the action. “We call on authorities to unblock Haatuf and the Somaliland Times websites,” said Baglo.

“This internet censorship violates the right to freedom of expression, including the freedom of information of the people of Somaliland,” said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General.

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