Mogadishu — The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) says 2012 was the deadliest year for Somali media in history with 18 media workers murdered and none of their killers brought to book.
"2012 has gone down as the worse in the history not only of the media but of Somalia as a whole. The killings of journalists have reached an all-time record and it is about time that such odious crimes are accounted for," said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General.
Mogadishu was confirmed as the place where most of the journalists were killed, followed by Beledweyne, Galkayo and Las Anod.
It is in the second half of the year where the majority of journalists were deliberately hunted and gunned down in a series of politically-motivated crimes designed to silence the independent voice of journalists and suppress freedom of expression. September holds the grim record as the month where the biggest number of journalists were killed.
Heightened political fights and the power struggle that characterized the end of the mandate of Transitional federal institutions, had a deadly impact on Somali journalists who bore the brunt of armed men wanting to control or manipulate to their advantage news going out into the public domain.
NUSOJ is extremely concerned about the continued impunity enjoyed by killers of journalists thanks to the failure by the previous Transitional Federal Government to protect journalists' fundamental right to life. The abysmal record of authorities ranged from mysterious releases of suspected killers, to lack of credible investigations, empty words of condolences, an almost total absence of practical action from their international backers as well as their failure to hold those in power into account for their inaction. Such failures are akin to local authorities condoning these scandalous crimes.
In welcoming the commitments made by the new Federal Government of Somalia to tackle deadly attacks on journalists, give media and civil society more space for free expression and to bring to an end the culture of impunity, NUSOJ has called for swift and tangible actions to bring forthwith the killers of media workers to justice.
NUSOJ urged Somalia's international friends and partners to go beyond words of regret, and hold into account those in power as responsible for giving justice to the victims of rights abuses, ending abuse of power in public offices, strengthening the rule of law and guaranteeing freedoms of expression and association.
Somalia has now become the second deadliest country for journalists in the world after Syria and Africa's deadliest, according to the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the global voice for journalists including NUSOJ members.