News from Africa

Somali Journalists protest against an article published by the Guardian Newspaper

Press Freedom

Té / 19 October 2012

The Somali Journalists in Mogadishu staged at the Village restaurant, which is where suicide bombers killed three journalists and a dozen more civilians and wounded more than seven others, in Mogadishu on Thursday, to protest a defamatory and libelous article published by the Guardian Newspaper alleging the Somali journalists to have contributed to their murders through bad practices of corruption, in what Somali journalists understood as an attempt to divert the public attention by aiding the real criminals, which could contribute the killing of Somali journalists to continue.

Somali journalists holding posters written, “Jamal Osman justifies killing of Somali journalists,” “Shame on you, Guardian” and “Somali journalists are protesting against libelous article by so-called journalist Jamal Osman.” Among others during a protest organized by the Somali journalists and shouted, “Down Guardian, down Jamal”, while they condemned the content of that article and demanded the Guardian Newspaper to retract the article and apologize.

The article authored by the Somali journalist, Jamal Osman based in London, who reports to both Guardian and Chanel 4 to the Shabab controlled areas - an access that no other journalist working for foreign media outlets had never dared – is meant to paint a bad image to the Somali journalists and media community. Shabab regards all journalists working for western media as “spies”.

15 journalists have been killed in Somalia and more than half of the cases took place in Mogadishu and all have been targeted in line with their profession and the majority of them have been claimed by the Shabab, a militant affiliated to Al-Qaeda contrary to what the Guardian Newspaper wrote.

Somali journalists have been working in one of the most dangerous places to be a journalists only to serve the public, while death threats, arbitrary arrests, intimidations, besides targeted assassinations with 15 killed this year alone and more than 20 journalists wounded.

The National Union of Somali Journalists joins and supports the Somali journalists to protest this heinous attack which justifies the assassinations against the killed Somali Journalists.

“The piece in the Guardian article is yet another tragedy which justifies the murders against the Somali journalists and encouraging the criminals to commit further assassinations.” Mohamed Ibrahim, NUSOJ Secretary General said, “We call on the newspaper to retract and apologize or otherwise might severe the relationship.”

Somali Journalists also threatened that the will take a legal action if the author does not apologize and give evidence to his claims that the journalists contribute to their killing through corruption.

MOGADISHU, Somalia, October 19, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)

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