The Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) condemns the multiple, but separate arrests against journalists and media community in Mogadishu, Banadir region and Wajale town in Somaliland, the latest in a string of attacks against journalists in the country as well call for the end of these attacks.
On 10 February 2023, SJS lawyer and legal adviser for the journalists, Abdirahman Hassan Omar sustained multiple injuries after he was attacked by four armed men while he was heading home from work. Four men (three armed) and one driving a tuk tuk (bajaj) attacked him with several leg and hand injuries. SJS had reported the incident to the police who promised to investigate and we are waiting for more information from them.
Despite, his removal from the defense team by the court, which SJS considers weakening their defense, Avv. Abdirahman was part of the defense lawyers of SJS secretary-general, Abdalle Ahmed Mumin in the press freedom case at the Banadir Regional Court.
On 12 February 2023, Somali police in Kaaraan district, Mogadishu, detained two Risaala Media Corporation journalists Qasim Ibrahim Adani and videographer Abdikarin Mohamud Mohamed who were reporting a protest by the local transporters who were complaining against road closure at Sana’a intersection in Mogadishu’s Kaaraan district.
At the police station, the journalists were ordered to delete the footageof the protesters and refrain from covering any further protests by the Kaaraan district police station commander, Salaad Arale, before they were freed without charge.
On Sunday 19 February 2023, Somaliland police in Wajale detained Saab TV reporter Guled Ali Ibrahim a day after he exposed an illegal tax collection by the mayor of the border town of Wajale.
The journalist posted receipts showing illegal taxation on his Facebook. According to colleagues, the journalist was held at the police station. He was freed on Tuesday 21 February after he was forced to retract his Facebook post.
On Monday, 20 February 2023, the Somali intelligence agents in Mogadishu briefly detained Ali Elmi Salaad and Sakariye Mohamed Salad, a reporter and a cameraman for the privately-owned Radio Kulmiye in Mogadishu.
According to the Director of Radio Kulmiye Burhaan Diini Farah, the radio journalists were covering a disputed election by the Banadir Truck Owners Cooperative. Upon arrest, they were taken to NISA headquarters known as ‘Habar Khadijo‘, where they were held for an hour and after interrogations they were freed without charges.
“We condemn these arbitrary arrests in the strongest terms possible and call for the end of all attacks against journalists,” Mohamed Ibrahim, SJS President said, “Arbitrary arrests, threats and harassment against the press discourages the journalists’ ability to freely and independently report stories on public interest and will lead the media houses and journalists to carry out self-censorship out of fear, which will give room for the important stories unreported.”
“Federal and regional authorities should respect both the federal and regional constitutions that guarantee the press freedom and the freedom of expression and guarantee the safety and security of the journalists in order for them to be able to exercise their profession without fear.” Mr. Ibrahim added.
“SJS courageously reiterates that accountability for crimes against journalists as a gross human rights violation, including individual accountability, is key to end ongoing attacks against the media community and it will reinstate public trust in justice and security institutions to rebuild the rule of law and sustainable peace in Somalia.”