Somalia: independent media under attack

The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) has issued a statement condemning “in the strongest possible terms” attacks on Mogadishu radio stations by the armed forces of the Transitional Federal Government. The statement said government troops raided the offices of the independent Radio Simba on March 2, taking away computers, audio recorders, digital cameras and other equipment. Reporter Abdiaziz Hussein Hassan was beaten in the raid. One day earlier, a rocket hit Radio Simba, destroying the station’s archive. A few minutes after the raid on Simba, soldiers broke down the doors of Shabelle Radio, again confiscating equipment, and detaining station director Shabele Muktar Mohamed Hirabe. Security forces also visited the offices of Horn Afrik Radio and ordered them to stop broadcasting. (NUSOJ, March 3 via AaaAfrica)

Amnesty International accuses the Somali transitional government of a systematic campaign against the press. “The killings, arrests and death threats targeting Somali journalists are not just another unfortunate by-product of the conflict and general insecurity in Somalia – they are a deliberate and systematic attempt by all parties to the conflict to stem the flow of information out of the country,” said Michelle Kagari of Amnesty’s Africa Program. (Amnesty International, March 3 via AllAfrica)

Shabelle Radio’s website appears to be off-line as of yesterday.

See our last posts on Somalia, and the Horn of Africa.