By Kemiso Wessie:
-As the world celebrated International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists on November 2 2022, Somali journalists mourned the loss of yet another colleague, Mohamed Isse Hassan.
Hassan, a broadcast reporter for M24 TV, was killed in a twin bomb explosion in Mogadishu on October 29th, making him the second journalist to be murdered this year. The three other journalists with him at the time were seriously injured as a result of the explosion.
2022 marks the 10 year anniversary of the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, a plan of action which seems to be ineffective in Somalia. Data from the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) reported that 54 Somali journalists have been murdered in the past decade.
NUSOJ Secretary General Oman Faruk Osman said in an article: “Lines of accountability for violence against journalists either do not exist or have been deeply fractured. Certain sections of the security agencies view journalists as adversaries and this serves as a motivation to violate their human and professional rights. The cumulative result of all this, is that journalists have resorted to self-censorship in a bid for self-preservation, a trend that has notable effect on the quality of journalism and the potency of stories and information to challenge the status quo.”
The risk of prosecution is high amidst the controlling legal regime regarding journalistic freedoms. The country’s attitude towards journalists has seen an increase in deaths, injury, arrest and intimidation from the state and non-state entities, making Somalia the most dangerous African country for journalists.
The report also highlights that women journalists, in addition to violence associated with media work in the country, also face online and sexual harassment as well as assault in and out of the newsroom.