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

SOJANET members. Kampala, Uganda.