European Parliament backs RSF’s call for moratorium on arrests of journalists in Somalia
In a resolution on the human rights situation in Somalia adopted yesterday, the European Parliament has endorsed the call for a moratorium on arrests of journalists in Somalia that Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and its partner, the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), issued more than a year ago and have been reiterating ever since.
The resolution “deplores the recent attacks on journalists and media personnel” and “calls on the Somali authorities to conduct and conclude investigations into the killings of all journalists during 2021.”
It then “urges the Federal Government of Somalia and its Federal Member States to declare, without delay, a moratorium on the arrest and imprisonment of journalists while performing their journalistic duties, as proposed by Reporters Without Borders and the National Union of Somali Journalists.”
“The prime minister undertook to declare this moratorium during a visit by RSF a year ago and this resolution serves to point out that the promise has not yet been honoured,” said Arnaud Froger, the head of RSF’s Africa desk. “The authorities cannot be held responsible for all the major security problems that Somali journalists face, but they have the possibility of taking action, in particular by making the only too frequent arbitrary arrests and imprisonment of journalists illegal.”
At least 19 journalists have been arbitrarily arrested and jailed in connection with their work since the start of the year, according to the tally kept by RSF and NUSOJ. Two journalists have also been murdered by Al-Shabaab, a terrorist group affiliated to Al-Qaeda. The latest was Radio Mogadishu director Abdiaziz Mohamud Guled, who was killed on a street in the Somali capital on 20 November by a suicide bomber with an explosive vest.
Somalia is ranked 161st out of 180 countries in RSF's 2021 World Press Freedom Index.