Journalists during assignment in Mogadishu. | Photo credit/SJS.
Journalists during assignment in Mogadishu. | Photo credit/SJS.

MOGADISHU, Somalia, 13 January, 2020 – Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) stands in solidarity with local journalists and media houses in Galmudug who on Sunday evening 12 January, protested against the increasing pressure and blockage against independent journalists covering Galmudug State election in Dhusamareb.

The journalists who announced their frustrations at a news conference said they were barred from accessing and filming the hall where the selection of the Galmudug State Assembly took place on Friday 10 January by senior officials of Galmudug’s Technical State Formation Committee which is a Federal Government-appointed body in charge of the Galmudug State elections. Journalists also said a media officer from Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) of the Federal Government was tasked to record footage from the hall where the list of the new regional assembly members was presented. Later the OPM officer sent pre-edited clips to the newsrooms.

“This has been ongoing since the start of the Galmudug election and it is becoming even worse,” said journalist Mohamed Abdiweli Tohow “All the local journalists have now decided to suspend work due to the obstruction we face.”

“SJS stands in solidarity with journalists in Galmudug who complained about the endless climate of intimidation and obstructions against journalists. There could not be a democratic election without free media,” Abdalle Ahmed Mumin, Secretary General of Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) said.

 “We call Galmudug’s Technical State Formation Committee and other relevant authorities to allow journalists to independently cover this crucial local election.  We also remind journalists to ensure appropriate journalistic ethics during elections,” Mr. Mumin adds.

Separately, Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) welcomes the release of Horn Cable TV editor, Abdikadir Saleban Asayr (Coday) from prison in Hargeisa on Sunday 12 January 2020, after Horn Cable TV management paid off six million Somaliland shilling (US$700) in exchange for a one year prison term and a fine, according to Hassan Galaydh and Abdikadir Coday himself.

The journalist was arrested on 18 November, 2019.  On Saturday 11 January, Marodi Jeh Regional Court handed down one year sentence and a fine of three million shilling for a news report on 2 November, 2019 about an air safety related incident involving Flydubai, a UAE-owned airline which reportedly complained against the services at Hargeisa’s Egal International Airport.