Somalilandsun- For the third year in a row, Somalia has ranked as the world’s leading country where slain journalists’ deaths go unpunished.
Over the past decade, all 26 assassinations of journalists in the East African nation have gone unsolved, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, which released its annual impunity index, titled “Getting Away With Murder,”.
This wa quoted by Jesselyn Cook in 2017 a https://www.huffingtonpost.com/ report titled ‘Getting Away With Murder’ In Somalia, Where Journalists Are Killed With Impunity
To date this figure of assassinated Journalists in Somalia has increased not to mention other barriers placed on the fourth estate by the Somalia federal government.
Earlier in the week 29-year-old Abdirizak Said Osman, a newscaster and reporter for Radio Voice of Peace was stabbed to death and according to the National Union of Somalia Journalists-NUSOJ Osman becomes the second journalist to be killed in Somalia this year
On July 26, Abdirizak Kasim Iimaan, a TV cameraman, was killed by a policeman at a checkpoint in Mogadishu but no suspect has been arrested.
As Somalia remains one of the most dangerous places in the world for journalists with dozens having been killed, maimed or forced to leave the country the international federation of journalists and NUSOJ have been in the forefront of campaigns to end suppression of freedom of speech in that country
At the39th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, this September IFJ and its Somalia affiliate, reported
“Since the last report of the Independent Expert on Human Rights Situation in Somalia to the Human Rights Council, 21 journalists have been arrested, detained for different periods on spurious charges and released; two journalists were killed in central Somalia, 10 journalists were wounded while three media houses were closed down”
Adding that “Attempts to manipulate and suppress independent media deepened, while the stigmatization of critical journalists intensified”
While it is imperative that all sympathize with journalists in Somalia and applaud NUSOJ for relentless pursuit to end killing of journalists with impunity in their country, for Somalilanders these sympathize is turning to aghast anger, WHY SO?
Despite the great work being done by the local Somalia journalists body, its insinuation that it represents the Somaliland fourth estate is a wrong and similarly so for a prestigious body like the International Federation of Journalists
Though Somaliland is yet to be recognized internationally a sovereign nation, it is a fact that in 1991 it withdrew from its voluntary later turned fateful 1960 Union with Somalia.
Despite an elusive quest for recognition Somaliland a former British protectorate is not only one of the most peaceful countries in the turbulent Horn of Africa region but most democratic as well.
That being so it is also a fact that it’s democratically elected government runs a fully fledged country which is endowed with clearly defined borders, has its own currency, flag, army not to mention elected parliament among many others.
In these scenario journalists in Somaliland have their affairs fully governed by the Somaliland Journalists Association-SOLJA , whose executive is democratically elected every three years and without fail for the past decade and a half.
For starter it is a fact that SOLJA respects its jurisdictional authority and that of NUSOJ thence at no time ever since its inception has it, delve into issues pertaining to journalists in neighbouring Somalia.
As for its Mogadishu based counterpart, NUSOJ that has never been reciprocated as numerous incidents of interference in matters related to the Somaliland fourth estate have been documented.
While that is history our current concern is the statement deliver to 39th session UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva, Switzerland this September 2018 jointly by the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) in relation to Somaliland
Quote – The IFJ and its affiliate NUSOJ – National Union of Somali Journalistshave documented extensive violations of freedom of expression and freedom of association for the past 7 years. The authorities in Somaliland have intensified the attacks on media freedom since the start of the conflict about the disputed territory in Tukaraq with Puntland (regional state controlling north-eastern regions of Somalia), where 6 journalists have been arrested, more than 10 journalists forced into exile, two television networks had their licences withdrawn and one newspaper was banned. Four other journalists were arrested in separate incidents in Hargeisa and Borame””-Unquote
While not defending the current and past administrations of Somaliland involved in regular confrontations with journalists, it is worth mentioning that non has ever been killed by the state apparatus.
Read Somaliland: Somalia Remains Worst Country For Journalists, IFJ and NUSOJ Tell UN Rights Body, SOLJA Unaware
The main issue here is that neither the IFJ nor its Somalia affiliate have the right to not only compile but present anywhere a report about suppression of freedom of speech in Somalia that includes Somaliland.
For the IFJ which is an international body whose activities are much desired in Somaliland, simply involving SOLJA shall suffice but as for NUSOJ keeping a distance is the only action that can and should suffice.
Though NUSOJ is a somalia based body and while acquiescing that political differences prevail between the Authorites in Mogadishu and Hargeisa, being a non state actor it, NUSOJ, should maintain a neutral stand just like its local counterpart SOLJA.
This will surely foster good relations as in the past that saw persecuted journalists in Somalia seek safe havens in Somaliland.
Finally while we in Somaliland pursue the establishment of 100% freedom of expression which is unavailable anywhere on earth, we remain hopeful that NUSOJ shall finally manage to end the with impunity assassinations, maiming and disfigurement of media operatives, in Somalia the worst country for journalists.