Two journalists were killed and over 30 others arrested or charged by authorities across Somalia in 2020, a local pressure group has said warning the country still remained a dangerous place for journalists.
The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) said in a report to mark this year’s World Press Freedom Day both state and non state actors wantonly oppressed journalists without fear of facing the law.
The report titled Between a Rock and Hard Place: Journalists in Peril in Somalia documents violations against journalists in 2020. NUSOJ Secretary General Farouk Osman said the judiciary largely aided in violating rights of journalists.
“Far from being a safe haven, the courts in Puntland and Somaliland have explicitly demonstrated a lack of willingness to interrogate the cases brought before them, instead rushing to convict journalists on flimsy grounds. Almost all journalists that were taken before these courts were found guilty and sentenced to lengthy periods of detention,”
The report noted that “The courts scored a 99% conviction rate in cases where spurious charges were brought against journalists.”
TV journalists Abdulwali Ali Hassan (Universal TV and Radio Kulmiye) and his Kalsan TV counterpart Said Yusuf Ali were killed on February 16, 2020 and May 4, 2020 respectively.
Another 33 journalists were either arrested, charged and sentenced during the reporting period, the report added.
Regional governments remained most notorious, the journalists Union said citing Jubbaland, Puntland and the breakaway region of Somaliland.
Somaliland journalist Kilwe Adan Farah was arrested on December 27, 2020 and held incommunicado for two weeks before being sentenced for three years for his work covering the runway inflation in the eastern state.
He was however released in March this year