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Wed, 11 Dec 2019 13:50 GMT

Getting Away with Murder: Somalia Tops Countries Where Journalists’ Killers Go Unpunished


Abdullahi Osman - 7Dnews Mogadishu

Tue, 06 Nov 2018 16:50 GMT

Somalia tops the list of the countries where journalists are killed and the perpetrators go unpunished, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) 2018 index.

For the past four years, Somalia, which topped CPJ’s impunity index, has witnessed the killing of 25 journalists without anyone being brought to trial.

Similar impunity is entrenched in 14 nations, according to CPJ’s 2018 Global Impunity Index, which ranks states with the worst records of prosecuting killers of journalists.  

“In the past decade, at least 324 journalists have been silenced through murder worldwide and in 85% of these cases no perpetrators have been convicted,” the report said.  

Last week, gunmen killed a journalist in Elasha Biyaha, a small town 17 kilometres from Mogadishu. Abdullahi Hashi, the producer and host of a daily show broadcast on the privately-owned Radio Darul Sunnah, was shot dead after attending afternoon prayers at a mosque near his station. 

Hashi becomes the third journalist to be killed in Somalia this year. No one has been arrested in connection with his murder. 

“Authorities in Somalia have a solemn duty to investigate the killing of Abdullahi Mire Hashi and bring those responsible to justice,” said CPJ Sub-Saharan African Representative Muthoki Mumo. 

The National Union of Somalia Journalists (NUSOJ) protested against the killing of Hashi and called on the government to arrest the perpetrators. Somalia is one of the worst places in the world for journalists, where they are targeted by the state, non-state actors like the al-Shabab group and various ‘unknown gunmen’. Most of the journalists’ killers have never been apprehended.  

"I am deeply saddened that Somalia still remains top of the list of countries in which journalists are murdered and culprits go unpunished. We need to improve this situation," Mohamed Ibrahim Moalimu, NUSOJ secretary-general, said in a statement. 

Moalimu said the government is responsible for the safety and protection of journalists and media workers against any threats or physical violation of their right to life and integrity by its security forces and other non-state actors. But most killings do occur in government-controlled areas. 

NUSOJ said 11 media workers have been killed in the country since 2016. 

Somalia has had no effective central government for 27 years, when a coalition of clan militias overthrew President Siyad Bare in 1991. Since then, Somali journalists have become targets of their own government, clan militias, warlords, and al-Shabab terrorists.