Mogadishu, Somalia 22 August, 2021 – Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) condemns the brief arrests, threats and obstruction of journalists from covering a protest in Mogadishu on Sunday morning 22 August, 2021 around 10:00am local time, the latest in a string of violence against the journalist and the media workers in Somalia.
Somali Police in Mogadishu’s Hodan district on Sunday morning briefly detained three journalists; Salad Mohamed Kheyre, Abdifatah Mohamed Roble both working for SOMNEWS TV as a reporter and Cameraman respectively and Samiir Abdirisak Omar of Hanti-TV while covering a protest at KM4 area in Mogadishu against the African Union Union Mission of Somalia (AMISOM) for killing civilians in Lower Shabelle region. Several other journalists also fled the scene after the police chased them.
The trio journalists who spoke with SJS said that the police confiscated their equipment including cellphones, detained them in a Hodan Police station, where they were kept for an hour and half and were later released without charges. However, Hodan district police commissioner Bashiir Abdi Siyad told the journalists before they were released that “You were arrested for filming a protest, which is a crime, if you are caught a similar act again, you will be arrested for good”
Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) condemns today’s brief arrests, threats, intimidation and obstruction access to information by the police in the strongest terms possible and calls for the federal government of Somalia to end the police brutality against the journalists and the media stations in the country.
“We are alarmed to hear that police who were supposed to protect the basic constitutional rights, are becoming rights violators and call for the Somali government to carry out prompt investigations and take action against any officer found press violations” Abdalle Ahmed Mumin, Secretary General of the Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) said, “Journalists risk their lives to report important news to the public, threatening them, obstructing them access to information is unacceptable.”