Somalia: In Mogadishu Media Crackdown, Media Executive Arrested, Equipment Confiscated

Regulation & Policy

The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) has condemned in the strongest possible terms the attacks on Radio Shabelle and Radio Simba in Mogadishu by the Armed Forces of the Somalia Transitional Federal Government.

On 2 March 2008, the Armed forces forced their way into the offices of Radio Simba and took away three computers, audio mixer, a computer laptop, two Audiotape recorders, two digital cameras and four studio microphones. During the attack, the forces had beaten reporter Abdiaziz Hussein Hassan, who was in the Simba news studio. On 1 March 2008, a rocket hit the building of Radio Simba and destroyed the Radio’s archive.

A few minutes after the attack on Simba radio, the armed forces broke down the doors of Shabelle Radio, which is near to offices of Simba Radio, and took two audio mixers and main computer from the production studio. When leaving from Shabelle Offices, forces ordered Director of Shabele Muktar Mohamed Hirabe to go with them.

Security Forces also visited the Horn Afrik Radio and ordered to shut down the radio, but did not take any equipment, according to Horn Afrik journalists.

According to the journalists and management of these Radio stations, the attacks were to intimidate journalists and the media, and particularly these radio stations. Shabelle Radio contacted Government officials, when their offices were broken in, but no official came or ordered to end the attack, as said by Shabelle Management.

Government Forces are carrying out security operation in Bakara Market and the entire Howl-Wadaag District, which situates in the centre of the city after heavy fighting in the capital between insurgents and Somali and Ethiopian soldiers.

NUSOJ rejects any attempt to muzzle or control the media and restrict journalists in times of security operations. “We believe that journalists' ability to report freely is essential to the nonviolent resolution of conflicts, and that suppression of the media during periods of unrest or armed operations only increases fear and suspicion among the people” Omar Faruk declared.

NUSOJ reiterates its deepest concern about the escalating attacks on Media and worsening security and safety of Media professionals by the armed groups, despite blood-spattered violence against journalists and media assistants last year.

(National Union of Somali Journalists (Mogadishu), 3 March 2008)