MOGADISHU, Somalia 04 May, 2020 – Somali Media fraternity* vehemently condemns in the strongest terms possible the assault and the injury on female journalist Safiya Aden Osman, a reporter for Shabelle TV and her cameraman, Abdulkadir Ga’al by Waberi District police and District Officials in Mogadishu on Monday 04 May, the latest in the string of violence against media professionals in Somalia.
A group of police and district officials assaulted and injured Safiya and beat her cameraman Abdulkadir while covering a protest by a group of internally displaced (IDP) women who complained against mismanagement of food distribution cards in Waberi District. According to Safiya, the officers hit her with metal object resulting head injury. She was admitted at the hospital while bleeding and was later discharged.
The officers also confiscated the journalists’ equipment.
We condemn this latest attack on the two journalists that follows a day after the Somali media advocates: FESOJ, SJS, SOMA and SIMHA submitted an official protest letter that documented key violations against press freedom to the Offices of Somali President, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed (Farmaajo), Prime Minister, Hassan Ali Khaire and Minister of Information, Mohamed Abdi Hayir (Maareeye).
We are extremely worried by the increasing intolerance of the Somali authorities and the use of violence by its security forces against journalists reporting from certain public interest news incidents.
We call for the Somali Government to urgently investigate the officers responsible for the Monday’s physical attack on Shabelle TV journalists and bring them to book. We also remind authorities that no official is above the law and therefore perpetrators of this attack should not go with impunity.
Meanwhile, we are dismayed by the new threats by the Somali Prime Minister’s Communication Office against our media organizations and journalists following our joint call to end violence against media professionals on the World Press Freedom Day on Sunday. We call for Somali Prime Minister to urgently take appropriate and relevant actions to ensure the safety of our staff and journalists amid the very highly dangerous level of threats coming from his Office.
*Federation of Somali Journalists (FESOJ), Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS), Somali Media Association (SOMA) and Somali Independent Media Houses (SIMHA)