9 November 2012

Somalia: President Meets With Journalists At Villa Somalia

press release

Mogadishu — President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud received today in his office, journalists who returned from Kismayo. These included a number of senior editors for various local media outlets.

Journalists attended the meeting have engaged a passion discussion with the President on the rights of journalists, establishing legal frame work for the profession, creating enabling environment and also recognized the necessity to have a responsible and self regulated media society.

The discussions focused on different issues as well as the challenges facing Somali journalists, The most serious of which is the increasing and alarming killings of journalists in Somalia.

This year alone we have lost 18 committed journalists in a series of targeted attacks. We Somalis cannot afford to keep losing these talented individuals who are working in a difficult environment to bring news and information to the people of Somalia. The Somali government strongly condemns the killing of Somali Journalists.

The President of Somalia H.E. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said: " The era of impunity must stop immediately. We are determined to find the perpetrators of these crimes against our brave journalists. The Somali Government recognises the central role the media must play in ensuring transparency for the Somali people. Freedom of expression is a right enshrined in our constitution and we are determined to uphold and defend that right in the face of these heinous attacks.."

The President of Somalia H.E. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has asked the Prime Minister of Somalia H.E. Abdi Farah Shirdon (Saa'id) to urgently set up a Task Force to thoroughly investigate all cases involving the killing of Somali Journalists with a view to bringing those responsible to justice. The President said: "The Somali people are rightly concerned by these killings and want to know why our journalists are subject to such attacks. I have no doubt that the truth will come out and that these perpetrators will have no place to hide.

I would like to appeal to all Somalis to help and work with the police, security forces and the committee with a view to identifying those responsible for the killing of Somali Journalists. I would also like to appeal to the international community to assist our security forces by providing the necessary capacity building so that they will be able to investigate and take the appropriate course of action. My appeal also goes out to international organizations which can provide assistance to our journalists so that they will be able to carry out their duties with professionalism."

The President concluded: "impunity is unacceptable and we must determine who is behind these killings in order to bring them to justice. There should be no impunity and no excuses for not pursuing those perpetrators who are destroying the image and the reputation of Somalia. Our heartfelt condolences goes out to the families, to Somalis and in particular to loved ones of these journalists that were killed in this year."

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