Sunday, 30 December 2007
The freedom of the press situation in Somalia deteriorated considerably in 2007, as violence against journalists and media workers such as killing, detention, intimidation, harassment and other forms of attacks increased unabated in comparison to previous years, the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) said in its 2007 Annual Report of Press Freedom Violations.
Based on NUSOJ's own release, this article has been prepared for publication here by HRH F / Niels Jacob Harbitz. Photo of Osman: HRH F / Harbitz.
The Annual Report, "Targeting Truth Tellers: Journalism in a Climate of Fear and Intimidation", documents cases of media people killed, injured, arrested, robbed, intimidated, expelled, kidnapped, beaten and censored during 2007. The report also covers cases of media houses closed down, attacked and banned.
8 killed, 4 wounded 53 arrested, 55 forced to flee the country
"Journalists became victims of increasing conflict and insecurity that plagued Somalia for 17 years" said Omar Faruk Osman, left, NUSOJ Secretary General. Somali Journalists constantly face attacks, while those who intimidate journalists benefit from impunity from prosecution, Omar Faruk added. Throughout 2007, nine media persons were killed as a result of antagonistic action with the exception of one that died by accident; 4 media persons were wounded; 53 media persons were arrested; five media houses were closed down whilst more than 55 journalists fled from the country. Scores of journalists and media workers were intimidated and robbed. Apart from these, many journalists were verbally abused by political groups.
Media professionals at risk anywhere they go in Somalia
"Violations of press freedom increased 85% compared to the previous year. Several attacks against journalists' rights and freedom of the press happened and were not reported because of the victims' fear of reprisal" Omar declared. Consequently, Somalia turned into most deadliest country for journalists in Africa and the second most dangerous one for media professionals in the world. Safety of media professionals depends on the general situation of the country but their journalistic work singles them out and raises the dangers they are exposed to. " Journalists are with ordinary people, have no special defence and are frontline targets" he said. As the targeted attacks against journalists and other violations of press freedom increase horrifically, still media professionals are not safe anywhere in country. Lack of prompt, thorough and impartial investigations perpetuated an entrenched culture of Impunity, Omar said.
-An environment of hostility and threats, terror and insecurity
"Hostility and threats against Somali journalists cultivated an environment of terror and insecurity that slowed down independent journalism and promoted self-censorship as a form of protection. Significant number of journalists chose to work in secret. Through protest and solidarity actions and the publication of this report, NUSOJ stands as a challenge to those that violate press freedom and fundamental human rights of journalists in Somalia, he said. NUSOJ remains steadfast in its mission to defend and promote journalists' rights and freedom of the press. It boldly speaks out on behalf of Somali journalists, especially those who are in risk.
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