Somalia pressed over media freedom
The United Nations called on Somalia on Sunday to do more to protect the freedom of the press and expression in a country where 30 journalists have been killed in four years.
But in a report the UN noted progress on the issue over the last five years.
The report, drawn up by the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) as well as the UN Human Rights Council, noted that adoption in January this year of a new federal media law, which “guarantees a number of freedoms, including the right to inform.”
But the report also expressed “concern about the law’s unclear terminology, which allows for subjective interpretation and undue restrictions to freedom of expression”.
“Despite the vibrant media culture in Somalia - which hosts more than 90 media outlets and scores of websites and blogs - numerous violations aimed at journalists and political leaders” are documented in the report.
These include killings, attacks, arbitrary arrests and detention, intimidation, harassment, closure of media outlets, confiscation of equipment and blocking of websites.
“The dangers facing media workers and public figures are illustrated by the fact that, between August 2012 and June 2016, a total of 30 journalists and 18 parliamentarians were killed in Somalia,” it added.
While the greatest threat to journalists comes from the Al-Qaeda aligned Shabaab jihadist group, which has vowed to bring down the Somali government, the country’s security forces are guilty of numerous violations against journalists and politicians. “Political activists and journalists are detained in the NISA detention centre, together with Al Shabaab suspects, with no judicial oversight,” lamented the report, referring to the National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA).