Channel4 News journalist, Jamal Osman (left) and Arlaadi Media Network reporter, Mohamed Nur Mohamed (right).
Channel4 News journalist, Jamal Osman (left) and Arlaadi Media Network reporter, Mohamed Nur Mohamed (right). | PHOTO/Combined.

MOGADISHU, Somalia 19 December 2022 – Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) condemns the new instructions by the Villa Somalia to censor local media stations by demanding news outlets to submit written copies of their news reporting daily to Villa Somalia’s directorate of communications, according to local media directors who received the new orders, the latest in a string of attacks against the press in Somalia.

On Saturday 17 December, officials at the President’s Communications Office called local media directors and instructed them that they should submit their news stories in word document before any broadcast. According to the director of Risaala Media Corporation, Mohamed Abduwahab, some media houses have rejected the demand which is effective starting from Saturday.

Channel4 News Africa correspondent, Jamal Muhumed Osman. | PHOTO/Courtesy.
Channel4 News Africa correspondent, Jamal Muhumed Osman. | PHOTO/Courtesy.

On Sunday 18 December, Somali National Intelligence (NISA) agents detained the UK-based Channel4 News Africa correspondent, Jamal Muhumed Osman at the Mogadishu’s Aden Adde Airport shortly after arriving at the airport from London. The multi-award winning journalist was held at an airport hotel overnight and his movement restricted until Monday when he was allowed to leave the country with the intervention of members of the parliament. Jamal later wrote on his Facebook that he was jetting back to London. It was not yet clear why Jamal was detained. Earlier this year, Jamal’s reporting inside al-Shabaab won the 2022 Rory Peck Award for Best News Feature in the United Kingdom.

On Monday 19 December, NISA agents at the federal parliament’s Lower House building in Mogadishu assaulted Arlaadi Media Network reporter, Mohamed Nur Mohamed who was at the parliament to cover the parliament sitting on Monday. The journalist, who was accredited to cover the parliament was also removed from the venue by NISA agents.

Arlaadi Media Network reporter, Mohamed Nur Mohamed. | PHOTO/Courtesy.
Arlaadi Media Network reporter, Mohamed Nur Mohamed. | PHOTO/Courtesy.

Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) condemns these latest attacks including censorship against the local media, restrictions and beating against the journalists in Mogadishu. We call for the Somalia government to immediately to retract its latest censorship order, respect press freedom and give the journalists and the media workers a secure environment where they can exercise their profession without fear or reprisals.

SJS also condemns the ongoing threats and persecution against SJS Secretary-General, Abdalle Ahmed Mumin including the restrictions against his right to movement and right to freedom of expression by the ministry of information officials as another example of the blatant violations that Somali authorities are committing with total impunity.

“We condemn the new press censorship order by Villa Somalia, restrictions imposed on Channel 4 freelance journalist and beating of Arlaadi Media journalists by the NISA agents at the Somali parliament,” Mohamed Ibrahim, President, Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) said, “These latest government attacks against the press including the new censorship order will have a chilling effect on the already fragile press freedom situation in the country.”

“We call on the Somali government, especially the Villa Somalia officials to retract their censorship, which violates basic constitutional right of the citizens right to know.” Mr. Ibrahim added.