NEW YORK, November 30, 2011 — African Press Organization (APO) — The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today asked the authorities in the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia to end the campaign of intimidation and harassment of leaders of the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), an IFJ affiliate.The Federation was reacting to news that NUSOJ organising Secretary in Mogadishu was summoned by police for questioning over the union’s activities in the country. “We call on the authorities to refrain from interfering in journalists’ affairs and stop harassing their leaders,” said Beth Costa, IFJ General Secretary. (Pictured left: Officials of the National Union of Somali Journalists)
“Somali journalists need protection from their government, not unwarranted investigations of their business and invasion of their workplace.” NUSOJ said in a statement that organising Secretary Abdiqani Sheik Mohamed, was summoned to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) on 29 November and questioned over NUSOJ activities and the work of its leaders, including its General Secretary and the Supreme Council President.
The authorities also asked about the NUSOJ statement on the raid to its office of 13 November and the arrest of Mohamed by police on the same date, said NUSOJ. The union’s Supreme Council Senior Vice President, Abdi Aden Guled, who accompanied Mohammed and was asked to present registration documents of the union, said that officers told them that the CID are investigating the union and will decide whether to bring criminal charges afterwards. The two representatives were ordered not to leave Mogadishu during the police investigation.
The IFJ backs NUSOJ leadership which has accused the Somali government of failing to live up to their publicly stated commitment to press freedom and freedom of association.
“These acts are clearly intended to obstruct NUSOJ’s activities and intimidate its leadership,” said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General. “Such measures against journalists’ leaders and an organisation that engages in legitimate activity contradicts the TFG’s claims that they respect press freedom, freedom of association and freedom of expression.”