GAROWE, Somalia – Somalia on Wednesday appointed a special prosecutor to investigate crimes against journalists in the Horn of Africa country.
The establishment of a special prosecutor’s office was announced in a statement issued by the presidency.
“Our journalists spoke, the government listened. The Office of the Special Prosecutor for Crimes Against Journalists is now officially established,” Abdinour Mohamed Ahmed, communications director for the presidency, said in a tweet.
He said the government will “continue working with the media and the civil society” to ensure there is “zero impunity” for crimes against media workers in Somalia.
“This timely intervention is to ensure our journalists and their families find justice against perpetrators of targeted attacks and killings aimed at Somali media professionals,” read a statement attached in Ahmed’s tweet.
Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS), an independent union of media workers, welcomed the move but urged authorities to ensure its implementation.
“We have in the past seen similar statements which were not fully implemented, so we call on the government to put this initiative into practice,” the union said.
Somalia is one of the most dangerous places for media professionals, with at least 10 journalists killed since February 2017 and none of the murders ever investigated, according to Abdalle Ahmed Mumin, secretary general of the SJS.
“This is part of a long list of more than 69 journalists murdered in Somalia since 1992. The special prosecutor will have the opportunity to follow up, investigate, and prosecute the killers of all these journalists,” he told Anadolu Agency over the phone on Wednesday.
“Ensuring justice for the slain journalists will not only reassure media workers of their safety but also serve as a warning to the perpetrators that they can no longer get away with their crimes.”