Somalia is not the best country in Africa to be a journalist

A presenter reads the news at Radio Shabelle, one of Mogadishu's most popular radio stations. With a population that is still one of the world's poorest, radio continues to be one of the primary sources of information for many in Somalia. However, while peace has largely returned to Somalia's capital of Mogadishu, journalists working in the city continue to face huge risks in their effort to report the news. As of December this year, 18 media workers have been killed in Somalia as a result of IED explosions, grenade attacks, and targeted assassinations.

On the weekend, some journalists in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, received an invitation to cover an event at the presidency.

The journalists were kept waiting for over seven hours when an official appeared to send them away, unceremoniously.

The scribes said it was the government’s norm to treat them with disrespect.

Abdiaziz Ibrahim is the Mogadishu reporter for Universal TV, a London based broadcaster.

He said he was severally invited to such events, but later turned away.

“They send us cleverly edited videos of the event to conceal to us what actually transpired at the event,” he said flanked by several other reporters angered by Monday’s treatment at the presidency.

“They want us to broadcast government-friendly news, but that’s not our role,” he added.

Horn Cable TV reporter Zeinab Mohamed complained of what she termed administration’s attempt to keep them in the dark on what’s happening in the country particularly events where President Farmajo’s government holds public events.

She said that the denies them the opportunities to ask questions and inform the public.

Another journalist, Aweis Mohamud said there is an unannounced embargo on Somali journalist to deny them coverage of government events.

Somalia is not the best country in Africa to be a journalist.

A crackdown by government officials is the least problem a journalist in Somalia deals with on daily basis.

Somalia remains the most dangerous place to be a journalist and it has been topping the list for three years in a row since 2015.

Over the past decade, all 26 assassinations of journalists in the East African nation have gone unsolved, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Since the country’s civil war erupted in 1991, at least 64 journalists in the country have been killed as a result of their work, including 39 political reporters and 29 war reporters.

CPJ, which began keeping track of worldwide journalist deaths in 1992, has confirmed the motives behind their killings, and reports that the vast majority of known perpetrators have been members of political groups.

“Journalists are also particularly vulnerable, Bader explained, because the news is a very big part of everyone’s day and a key source of information” in Somalia. “Somalis love listening to the news … so fundamentally, there’s a recognition that journalists can play an important role in getting your agendas across,” Laetitia Bader, a senior researcher for HRW’s Africa division told the Huffington Post.

Comments