Somalia: 2013 - a Dark and Deadly Year for Media Workers in Somalia

press release

After one of the worst years on record for the killing of journalists, the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) renewed its call for the Federal Government of Somalia and other regional governments to take seriously their responsibility to investigate media killings and end attacks on the media.

NUSOJ recorded 7 media workers, including 6 journalists who were cold-bloodedly murdered from 18 January to 26 October 2013. All media victims were working for broadcast media. Mogadishu still lingers to be the deadliest place to a journalist in the country with 6 media workers killed in this year alone, while Galkayo still continues to be dangerous town for journalists.

"We honour each of those who have died, from the dedicated and courageous journalists to the media technician who died because of their work in the media," said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General.

"Too often purported investigations into the killings of journalists and political meetings with members of the media are merely a whitewashing practice. There tend to be a few meaningless words of regret, a superficial investigation and a shrug of indifference."

Al-Shabaab continued to be the most deadly criminal group the Somali media community had ever seen. Behind each tragic death is a story of widespread intimidation and violence against journalists being carried out on a scale never seen before. Authorities in the federal government, Puntland and Somaliland are to be blamed for calculated attacks on the media in 2013.

NUSOJ has condemned the impunity and injustice in the way authorities respond to media deaths and the manner the media is intimidated - often using governmental institutions, making such attacks an institutional campaign against independent media. Ambivalence among political leaders is also a major concern.

"It is a sorry story of inability and lack of political determination, made worse by the ridiculous notion that journalists were targeted by extremists. This is precisely the sort of abdication of governmental responsibility that will only make life even more unsafe for journalists," added Osman.

NUSOJ will shortly release its annual report on the state of press freedom in Somalia in the year 2013 which covers media deaths, police and judiciary pressures, legal repression and the violent closure of media houses.

- National Union of Somali Journalists

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