Somali radio journalists harassed by authorities

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

His Excellency Dr. Elmi Ahmed Duale
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary/Permanent
Representative of Somalia to the United Nations
425 East 61st Street, Suite 702
New York, New York, United States, 10021

April 12, 2011

Dear Ambassador,

I am writing on behalf of Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE), a non-profit, non-governmental organization that works to promote and protect press freedom and freedom of expression around the world. CJFE is concerned by the recent attacks and harassment against Radio Shabelle journalists in Somalia.

Abdirashid Omar Qase and Abdi Mohamed Ismail, director and editor of Radio Shabelle respectively, were arrested for four days in late March 2011 for broadcasting a report about security concerns that prevented the president from visiting a region recently captured by government and African Union forces. They were released unconditionally after an investigation.

In January 2011, Radio Shabelle journalists Abdirisaq Adan Qoslaye and Adnan Mohamed Ali were assaulted by the spokesman of the Banadir Regional Administration, Mohamed Abdullahi Arig, who also ordered government soldiers to beat them up while they were attempting to report on a ceremony held at the Banadir Adminstration headquarters for the Banadir football team.

Previously, journalists and staff at Radio Shabelle and other media outlets have also been harassed, arrested or killed while operating under extremely dangerous conditions. These conditions have worsened in recent years, according to the National Union of Somali Journalists.

We urge the transitional federal government to ensure greater protection for journalists and uphold Somalis’ right to freeexpression and access to information by refraining from attacks against journalists and media outlets.
Thank you for your attention, and I look forward to your reply.

Yours Sincerely,

Arnold Amber, CJFE President

Cc: Mr. David Collins, High Commissioner to Kenya;
The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs