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UN Human Rights Council: End Continuing Intimidation and Attacks against Somali Journalists

29 September 2016

The UN should urge the Federal Government of Somalia and its regional administrations to end the continuing intimidation, harassment and attacks against journalists, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its Somali affiliate the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) have told the UN Human Rights Council yesterday in Geneva.

In a statement to 33rd session of the Human Rights Council (HRC) during the Interactive Dialogue the two organisations said that “The statistics make for grim reading – four journalists, including two women, have been murdered since September 2015 and the latest journalist was gunned down this week in Mogadishu; five journalists have been wounded and 11 arrested; three media houses were closed down.”

“The latest killings are the continuation of an ongoing wave of violence against journalists across Somalia, and the serious risk to their lives and freedoms have led some journalists to stop covering critical issues of misuse of public office, corruption and the attacks by Al-Shabaab on government-controlled areas.

“In spite of numerous statements of condolences and assurances given by the Federal Government, attacks against journalists continue unabated as impunity remains unchallenged. While some Al-Shabaab suspects were caught, convicted of killing journalists and executed, media and journalists are finding it increasingly difficult to stand up for the virtues of journalism based on ethical traditions and values”.

In his speech to the HRC, Mr. Bahame Tom M. Nyanduga, the UN Independent Expert on Human Rights Situation in Somalia, said “in-spite of the adoption of the media law, media practitioners continue to complain about physical attacks, harassment, intimidation and arbitrary arrests by security forces, in particularly the National Intelligence Agency, NISA. Alleged intimidation has included closing of radio and television stations, confiscation of equipment, and prosecution of media personnel for reporting on insurgency. In one particular case, it is alleged that the Federal Government has interfered with the freedom of journalists to organise their free trade union. This matter was adjudicated by an ILO Tribunal. In March 2016, the ILO Governing Body adopted a recommendation in which it urged Somalia to desist from interfering with the activities of the National Union of Somali Journalists and the Federation of Somali Trade Unions.”

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