19 January 2013

Somalia: CPJ - Shabelle Journalist Gunned Down in Somalia

Photo: NUSOJ
Somali journalists wear bullet-proof vests to go to work (file photo).

A veteran producer for the Shabelle Media Network was gunned down today in Mogadishu, the fifth Shabelle journalist killed in 13 months.

The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns this murder and calls on Somali authorities to not only investigate, but to follow up on the investigative task force on journalist murders that was promised by Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud in November.

Unidentified assailants shot Shabelle producer Abdihared Osman Aden at around 7 a.m. today while he was walking to work in the Wadajir district of the capital, according to local journalists and news reports. The journalist, who was shot at least three times, died at a local hospital, the sources said.

Shabelle released a statement after the attack, calling Abdihared a veteran TV and radio producer and "outstanding colleague."

At least four journalists working for Shabelle Media were killed by unidentified gunmen in 2012, three of them near their homes, according to CPJ research. Twelve journalists were killed in Somalia in 2012, all of them targeted murders, making the country the most dangerous in Africa for journalists, CPJ research shows.

In November, Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud said he would be setting up a task force to investigate the cases of journalist murders in the country. News reports quoted the president as saying, "The era of impunity must stop immediately." But the president has not yet followed through on his pledge to set up the task force, according to local journalists.

"President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoudmust make good on his promise to reverse the terrible record of impunity in Somalia, a process that can begin with the creation of the investigative task force he has outlined," said CPJ East Africa Consultant Tom Rhodes. "We send our deep condolences to Abdihared Osman Aden's family and his colleagues at Shabelle Media Network."

Somalia ranks second-worst on CPJ's 2012 Impunity Index, which spotlights countries where journalists are murdered regularly and killers go free. None of the 12 Somali journalist murders last year were resolved, according to CPJ research.

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