Reporters Without Borders has awarded a grant of 2,000 dollars and made available 20 bullet proof vests for Somali journalists who are forced to work in increasingly dangerous conditions.
Some 15 journalists working for the country’s main media reacted to the murder of the head of Radio Shabelle, Mukhtar Mohamed Hirabe – the 14th journalist to be killed since 2007 - by holding a press conference on 9 June at which they said they were forced to stop work because of an upsurge of threats against them.
This group of journalists, made up of editors, producers and presenters, called for an emergency plan allowing them to work in a high security building in a safe neighbourhood of the capital, Mogadishu. At present, many media staff are risking their lives by working in districts controlled by Islamist insurgents, like Mogadishu’s Bakara market.
The chief editor of HornAfrik radio told Reporters Without Borders that he received no government help or protection after receiving direct death threats and witnessing the murder of some of his colleagues. The main reason for these attacks was to prevent the independent media from covering the situation on the ground, he said. Journalists have been targeted by the radical Islamic insurgents of Shabbab, who are battling government forces in Mogadishu, but they also suffer intimidation on the part of the security forces or local authorities.
Financial assistance offered by international organisations such as Reporters Without Borders, should encourage these journalists to continue their work so that the abuses carried out by the militias do not silence Somalia media. Scores of Somali journalists have left the country in the last few months, driven out by growing threats to the safety, and others have quit the profession.
To find out more about murders of Somali journalists:
5 juillet 2009 - Mohamud Mohamed Yusuf
7 juin 2009 - Mukhtar Mohamed Hirabe
26 mai 2009 - Nur Muse Hussein
22 mai 2009 - Abdirisak Warsameh Mohamed
4 février 2009 - Saïd Tahlil - Radio HornAfrik
1er janvier 2009 - Hassan Mayow Hassan
7 juin 2008 - Nasteh Dahir Farah