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End attacks on journalists, media groups tell Somali government

Journalists in Somalia have in the last twelve months come under intense pressure from the government and the militant group Al-Shabaab, media organisations in Somalia have said, calling for an end to attacks.

Journalists in Somalia have in the last twelve months come under intense pressure from the government and the militant group Al-Shabaab, media organisations in Somalia have said, calling for an end to attacks.

The media rights groups said in marking the World Press Freedom Day journalists and media houses had been subjected to intimidations, closures, prosecutions and killings with little or no legal redress.

Noting that the oppression especially by government agencies were unyielding, the groups said they had written to President Mohamed Farmaajo and Prime Minister Hassan Khaire to act, failure to which they will ‘move to the Court to seek further redress.’

In the last twelve months, the groups said in a joint statement, 81 targeted attacks have been directed at journalists in addition to 53 arbitrary attacks.

“Two journalists were killed while 12 others were forced to flee country due to death threats,” the media groups said.

The statement comes amid worrying trends in Somalia which has seen government agencies threaten journalists with charges, arrests of journalists and intimidation.

“The Somali media fraternity is particularly appalled by the heavy-handed measures used by Somali government to gag media and journalists covering Covid-19 and to stifle the free flow of information,” the statement read in part.

The media groups which filed the statement are Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS), Federal of Somali Journalists (FESOJ), Somali Media Association (SOMA), Somali Independent Media Houses (SIMHA) and Somali Women Journalists Organization (SWJO).

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