Somali government has dismissed the just released Amnesty International report on media freedom in the country as ‘fabrications’ and ‘ludicrous claims’ devoid of any evidence.
Responding to the report, We live in perpetual fear by Amnesty which points to increased suppression of media freedom in Somalia since President Mohamed Farmaajo took office in 2017, the Federal Government said to the contrary, it has ‘challenged impunity, protected journalists and addressed media freedom in the last three years.’
Noting that it had taken steps such as reducing charges and prosecution of journalists, increased prosecution of officials found guilty of mistreating journalists and improved relations with journalists, a statement from the Ministry of Information noted the Amnesty report not only overlooked the ‘achievements’, but also based on ‘falsehoods’.
In the report released Thursday, Amnesty said the current administration had perpetrated offenses against journalists including arbitrary arrests and detentions, coercion to drop ‘negative stories’, payment of bribes and use of security forces to intimidate journalists.
But the government rubbished the claims noting Amnesty relied on false accounts. “Majority of the cases (53%) described in the report are not accurately media freedom cases and there is no single evidence to back this fabrication,” the statement read in part.
It added that some of the alleged victims fabricated the cases in order to help them secure asylum applications in European countries and ‘the government is fully aware of the circumstances that such individuals departed from Somalia.’
The Federal Government also said some of the ‘testimonies and their false accounts’ are aimed at tarnishing its image.
Amnesty said the move to oppress journalists was a tactic by Somali government to retain positive image.
“The quest for a positive image has led the authorities in Somalia to embrace repressive tactics that fly in the face of international human rights standards. The authorities have an obligation to uphold the rights to freedom of expression, information, and media freedom.”