Friday, October 28, 2011

Does harassing journalists help the Somaliland's claim of being peaceful and Democratic part of Somalia?

It is always the talk of the Somaliland politicians and authorities that the region is an example of growing democracy and peace in the war torn of horn of Africa nation.

At the international conferences and when receiving diplomats the leaders do not shy away to be proud of what they call as  " an independent and peaceful republic, which is on its way of seeking international recognition, despite Violations of Press Freedom and ordeals subjected to the journalists.

It is unfortunate that democracy, the strongest political tool for Somaliland, is not fully practiced.

We can think of democracy as a system of government with four key elements:

A political system for choosing and replacing the government through free and fair elections.

2.  The active participation of the people, as citizens, in politics and civic life.

3.  Protection of the human rights of all citizens.

4.  A rule of law, in which the laws and procedures apply equally to all citizens.

Have Somaliland Authorities met with all these standards? No Really.

In a democracy, every citizen has certain basic rights that the state cannot take away from them. These rights are guaranteed under international law.

You have the right to have your own beliefs, and to say and write what you think. No one can tell you what you must think, believe, and say or not say.

There is freedom and pluralism in the mass media. You can choose between different sources of news and opinion to read in the newspapers, to hear on the radio, and to watch on television.

It seems that Somaliland authorities think only democratic election through ballots can help claim a democratic republic.

The federation of Somali Journalists: FESOJ, has documented at least dozens of flagrant violations and abuses against journalists in Somaliland, among them beating journalists, arbitrary arrests and threats in the line of their duty.

The most recent freedom case in Somaliland was decumented on Thursday Oct. 27, 2011 by FESOJ office in Mogadishu.

Journalist, Mohamed Abdi Kahin, who works for both a Somali new website Ramaas and Royal Television 24, was seriously beaten by Somaliland police with baston.

The police men who attacked the journalist accused him of taking recently published photographs.

More badly, the journalist was denied access to file a case against his assailants to the Police, something that shows how also the justice system in Somaliland is not even-handed.

"They did what they could  and I was denied access to the police station, that is not fair" Mohamed Abdi Kahin told FESOJ, with a very low and sad voice.

Repeated calls and appeals to the Somaliland authorities to stop such unacceptable human rights violation against journalists seem to have fallen into deaf ears.

"We condemn the act to our strongest terms possible and call for Somaliland leaders to stay on the line of real democracy and such unwelcome actions have to end ," said FESOJ chairman, Mohamed OLad Hassan

FESOJ has also asked the Somali journalists and organizations that stand for their rights and advocacy to show solidarity with the Somaliland journalists.

FESOJ has also sent a letter of request asking the United Nations and other Human right Organizations to mount press on Somaliland authorities to respect the freedom of the media.


+25261-554-0001 - deputy chairman Ibrahim Mohamed Moalimuu
+1571-2167331 - the chairman - Mohamed Olad Hassan - the chairman

FESOJ is  a partner Press freedom organization of the SOJANET.

Written by FESOJ chairman Mohamed Olad Hassan and Posted by SOJANET secretary general Mohamed Odowa

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Suicide bombings demoralize journalists in Somalia.

By Mohamed Olad Hassan. 
MOGADISHU (FESOJ) –The Tuesday’s truck suicide bomber that killed more than 70 people, majority of them students, who gathered to check exam results and their accompanying parents, did not only shocked the world but also demoralized Somali journalists, who always cover the news and the stories of often dangerous terrain Mogadishu.
The previous similar incident that targeted a graduation ceremony in Mogadishu in 2009 killed more than 20 people, including three journalists and four government ministers.

In these latest dreadful outrage journalists, Abdulkadir Mohyadin a camera man for the Somali National Television (SNTV) and Ali Hassan known as Ali Hiiraan who works for the Universal Television, not only as a journalist but also as a comedian, sustained slight injuries on one hand each. The two journalists were hit by flying shrapnel.

Whenever an explosion of suicide bomber targets gathering and events it is most likely that journalists become among the casualties due to their work that inspires them to be present and report such events.

 Several journalists who work for the international media outlets who spoke to the FFESOJ office in Mogadishu, showed fear for their life, and said “if such suicide bombings continue, they will think about seeking refuge in the neighboring countries”.

 One other issue that demoralizes the journalists is that they are not paid well, despite working in an environment that foreign journalists are not allowed to operate on a regular basis.
Media owners both inside and outside Somalia abuse the Somali journalists rights by offering them very low payments and putting a heavy and dangerous work duty on them, including taking pictures from the frontlines.

“To avoid accountability foreign media offers Somali journalists stringer positions with a salary as low as $500 and order them to work hard and send daily, reports and images in the believe that they can take advantage of three things; first, the fact that the journalists are in need of jobs to survive because there is no other option or work availability in the country, second, they will not think about insurance or compensation if the journalists die in the line of duty and third is that they can immediately sack him if he or she asks payment increase or promotion” said the chairman of the Federation of Somali Journalists, Mohamed Olad Hassan.

He also condemned the foreign media outlets policies and their treatments with the Somali journalists.

He called for the media owners to respect the humanity and deal with their reporters in the hostile environment similar to how they treat with their journalists in the stable countries.

FESOJ office in Mogadishu
+25261-5540001 FESOJ Deputy Chairman Mohamed Ibrahim
Mohamed Olad Hassan, FESOJ Chairman
5770 Dunster Court 372
Alexandria, VA 22311
Cell: +15712167331

Friday, August 19, 2011

Covert discrimination against Somali Media must be stopped.

By Mohamed Odowa
Somalia media today protest against the wide discrimination by the government security force as well as the Ministry of information during the welcoming ceremony of the Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday.
More than 50 mainly working for the local Media houses include televisions, radio and websites have been denied to cover the news over the arrival of the Prime Minister as the journalists had been given Identity cards by the Somalia’s information ministry.
 Many journalists included the director of the Universal TV Ibrahim Mohamed Hussein and more others have been intimidated by forces loyal to government as the journalists were trying in accessing their coverage duties.
The government leaders such the President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and his Prime Minister Abdi-wali Mohamed Ali were seemingly watching over the harassments against the media workers.   Radios and TV equipments included Video cameras were taken from some journalists by the government security force. Somali Journalists Associations Network condemns with its strongest words for this awful discriminations and calls to the government leaders to make investigation over the allegations.
Several journalists told SOJANET that some government troops guarding the area warned journalists to kill
Journalists from western countries who were already inside at the Halane Camp and the areas of the International Aden Adde airport were also unable to participate at the ceremony as most of them were reportedly harassed and banned by the government forces.
Only a few journalists who work at the government run radio Mogadishu and small number of outside media workers were able to cover the news about the arrival of the Prime Minister and his delegates.
“This is shameful for all government sectors. The freedom of the press in this country is very important for whole nation and the outside. "We would demonstrate with our colleagues until apologies the bad actions happened today,” said SOJANET   
 The Prime Minister’s visit to Mogadishu was an attempt to draw the world’s attention to the war torn Somalia followed by the worst drought and famine. Turkey is amongst dozens of Islamic countries pledging a $350 million dollars to famine relief under Organization of Islamic.
SOJANET questioned on why the information ministry allowed journalists to cover such news if it’s not prepared with its commitments for ensuring the safety of the journalists and their media equipments!  

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Puntland court released Hiiraan online journalist.

By Mohamed Odowa

Somali Journalists Association Network—SOJANET welcomes the pardon of the Puntland president Abdurrahman Mohamed Farole over the release of Somali Journalist Faysal Mohamed Hassan known as Boston. Mr. Boston who works at the online Hiiraan Webpage was arrested on June 29. the journalist was released from prison in the Bosaso city on Sunday.

The National union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) has been meeting with the minister of Information, his deputies and presidential staff members for the release of the journalist.

"We are glad that our colleague finally got his freedom back and welcome his release." Mr. Burhaan Dahir, the president of the NUSOJ Supreme council said, "We hope and urge the Puntland authorities improve the freedom of the press."

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Puntland court sentenced local reporter to one year in jail

By Mohamed Odowa

Somali Journalists Association Network has learned that Puntland court in the Bosaso the capital of Bari region sentenced a local reporter to one year in jail, local journalist told SOJANET via phone.

The verdict of the court was announced Saturday by the judger Sheikh Adan Aw-Ahmed after alleged the journalist Feisal Mohamed Hassan for false information on the Puntland’s administration.

Feisal Mohamed Hassan who writes for Hiiraan website had been arrested last Thursday. His lawyer was trying to appeal for him before the decision of the sentence was made , but that was denied by the court judger.

Somali Journalists Association Network believes that Puntland leaders seemingly to be opposed with the independent journalists in the region.  “In the recent days the administration of Puntland violated to the basic standards of fairness”. “They previously charged some local independent journalists with the same case of this journalist Feisal Mohamed Hassan”. The order against the journalist must be revealed and revised soon by the Puntland court", said SOJANET.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Two radio stations have been closed by both ASWJ and al-shabaab groups.

By Mohamed Odowa

Somali Journalists association Network condemns the arrest of two independent radio stations in central Somalia regions. SOJANET calls to the hard-line group, al-shabaab and its rival of Ahlu-Sunna Wajama to respect for the independent radio stations as well the freedom of speech.    

Location: Central Somalia:
In Dhusa-Mareb the capital city of Gal-gaduud region

Forces loyal to Sufi group or Ahlu Sunna wajama stormed, RADIO DHUSA-MAREB on Thursday.

The reason: the station released reports on rifts between Ahlu-Sunna groups.

Ahlu-sunna Waljama leaders in Gal-gaduud region have announced earlier this week that the group's leaders will hold a conference in Abud-Wag district in the gal-gaduud region.

For that many other Sufi groups defy to participate the scheduled meeting of ahlu-Sunna Waljama.

Then Dhusa-Mareb Radio Station covered the news on the infighting between the group’s leaders.

In Baladwayne, the capital city of Hiiran region

Al-shabaab insurgents closed of Radio Voice of Hiiran on Wednesday.
The reason:  al-shabaab has got angry in Islamic programs released nowadays by the Radio Voice of Hiiran, a journalist in Baladwayne told SOJANET via phone.

The program was all about the Islam and the suicides... or what does the Islamic religion says about that. Al-shabaab wants youths to be sacrificed their lives what they call for the sake of Allah. Al-shabaab believes that anyone who does suicide attack to be martyr and the program of Radio Voice Hiiran was opposite to that.

SOJANET members. Kampala, Uganda.