The Federal Government is not responsible for attacks against the media outside the capital Mogadishu, Villa Somalia said Sunday in response to sharp criticism against President Mohamed Farmaajo’s administration by media rights groups locally and internationally.
Responding to the charges Sunday, Villa Somalia communications director Abdinur Mohamed said the Federal Government did not have control over how the Federal Member States deals with the media and journalists.
“We do not have control over what happened in Baidoa but we can only talk to the leaders of the regional government which are part of the Federal Government,” Mohamed said. “President Farmaajo did not direct the arrest of journalists in Baidoa, Kismayu, Hargeisa or Garowe.”
Five media organisations Sunday directed blame at the government over what it termed as a sustained attack against press freedom in Somalia noting journalists had faced pressure from authorities with little or no recourse.
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.
Mohamed added there was no media house attacked by government security agencies in Mogadishu noting the incident in Universal TV last year was related to revenue collection and not a move to attack press freedom.