The killing of innocent Somali journalists is on the rise in many places within Somalia especially in Mogadishu while the reason and the killers both remain anonymous. Somalia has one of the most vibrant media Sectors in the Horn of Africa yet its one of the most dangerous places to work as a journalist.
It took me 48 hours to think about why are the journalist being targeted and all I could find out was:1- Little ignorance in both the journalists and the anonymous killers: The importance of both the safety of journalists and the fight against impunity is one of the most critical issues to be addressed to the Somali journalists because journalists in Somalia seem not be aware of “how to be safe and report the truth “I personally would suggest to the journalism organizations all over the world to hold seminars about How to be safe in the field of journalism.
2- Dirty interest of Somali anonymous figures: The threats to the media in Somalia come from all sides – there are powerful politicians in power battles with each other, there is the notorious armed group al-Shabab and even wealthy businessmen can mean danger.
3- The entire security is a fragile: The country was in turmoil within the latest 21 years after the collapse of the Somali central state lead by Mohamed Siad barre after which the civil war broke out in the country. But the most interesting story is about the government of Somalia who never handled with any case concerning the killings of journalists but only condemn and also the united nations which only condemns violence against journalists and calls on its Member States to uphold their obligations to prevent, investigate, and punish crimes against journalists.
Many journalists were killed while covering dangerous assignments or reporting on corruption, organized crime and other illegal activities. As a consequence of these attacks many journalists have been forced to resort to self-censorship in an effort to protect themselves rather than lose their lives. In other cases, large numbers of journalists have found themselves in prison, with many others forced to flee their countries.
But the Somali journalists seem too committed to sort out the thirst of news in the Somali society. And that fragile media environment has not stemmed the growth of the media sector or discouraged young journalists from entering the field.
Sayidali Yasin Sheik
Senior Somali journalist and activist