On the eve of International Day to End Impunity, the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), yesterday released a report about violence against Somali media personnel since 2007 and the impunity enjoyed by those responsible.
Produced with the participation of several NUSOJ partner organizations including Reporters Without Borders and supported by the French embassy in Kenya, the report is being published after the deadliest year ever for journalists in Somalia, with a total of 18 killed since 1 January.
Somalia's journalists are the constant targets of threats and attacks and a total of 44 have been killed during the past six years, the NUSOJ report says, condemning the passivity of the authorities and the failure to investigate the murders.
"Hostilities and threats have cultivated an environment of terror and insecurity that has slowed down independent journalism and promoted self-censorship as a form of protection," NUSOJ says.
The report concludes that the impunity enjoyed by those who attack and kill journalists has its direct origin in the corruption and complicity of the Somali police and judicial system.
In view of the fact that around 250 journalists have fled Somalia since 2007, it is vital that the government led by the new president, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, should guarantee security and justice for media workers. To achieve this, NUSOJ recommends a number of measures including:
- the urgent adoption of a media law reform
- investigations into each of the 44 murders of media workers during the past six years
- criminal prosecutions by impartial and competent authorities against those responsible for crimes of violence against journalists.
Reporters Without Borders fully supports these recommendations.
Shortly after releasing its report, NUSOJ learned that Ibrahim Mohamed Adan, a reporter for the BBC's Somali-language service, was arrested in Mogadishu on 21 November on a charge of "false news." NUSOJ and Reporters Without Borders call for his immediate and unconditional release.