National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) statement

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Flag of Somalia
Flag of Somalia

On the occasion of World Day for Safety and Health at Work, 28 April 2010, the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) issues the following statement :

Stand up for safety of men and women working for Somali media

Somalia has been notorious for the brutal killing of local journalists for their determination to discharge vigorously their professional duties. Journalists have been prime targets for the warring sides in Somalia who do not like the truth to be uncovered, public plights to be revealed and human atrocities to be presented in journalistic reports.

The safety of Somali media professionals has declined drastically in recent years because the media has been perceived as part and parcel of the conflict, a platform to pass warmongering messages and a functional instrument for defeating enemies. Journalists, who decline to bend to the whims of the warmongers, received warnings telling them they will pay the price of defiance before they were murdered. Media practitioners who have dared to expose the ills in the society are often killed for stories they tell.

Media work has become very unsafe in Somalia. It has become a profession wrought in dangerous hazards. A total of 19 journalists have been killed in Somalia since 2007. The killers do not need to escape the justice yet there is no one to put them through a justice system, hence a great deal of impunity. They are neither named nor questioned for their gruesome transgression. Murdered journalists and their families have no remedy.

Security of journalists did not deteriorate only because of the lawlessness and instability that has afflicted Somalia for nearly 20 years. Calculated and well-organised criminal acts are the major cause of insecurity. Warring sides have turned the media houses into a theatre of war. Journalists have become the charcoal with which to fuel the crisis. Impunity is the motivating factor.

We call upon all sides in the armed struggle in our country to cease hostilities, turn away their guns from the journalists and allow media professional to work and live in safety and peace. We censure, again, the ruthless hooded men who covered their faces as they fired bullets into the bodies of journalists whose only crime was to be armed with a pen and a notebook.

We call upon the media owners, editors and journalists to join forces with like-minded members of the Somali society to start addressing the safety problems. Without safety, journalists will not be willing to continue being part of the statistics of the killed journalists and will thus cease working, which means there would be news blackout in Somalia.

Let us stand up for safety of men and women working for media.

Source: The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ)

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