Puntland: MAP Denounces Assault on Journalists, Calls for Swift Retribution for Culprits.

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Garowe, January 15, 2018: The Media Association of Puntland, vehemently condemns the January 13, 2018 denial of access and physical assault on 5 Journalists at Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed Airport in Galkaio by government forces and views it yet another shocking reality that Somali authorities are still insensible in providing a safe enabling environment for Journalists to perform their duties without interference and fear.

Bahja Abdullahi Mohamed (Radio Codka Nabada & Star TV), Burhan Mohamed Abdi (Puntland TV) Abaadir Abdulkadir Cilmi (SBC TV), Jamal Farah Adan (Daljir Radio) and Ahmed Abdirashid (Puntland TV) were the five Journalists who were denied access and assaulted while on assignment to cover the arrival of the visiting Somali Republic President H.E Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo.

Among the victims, Journalist Bahja Abdulaahi memorized the detail of the assault in an interview with the MAP chair on Sunday said;-
‘’ Shortly after when the plane carrying the Somali President landed, an overwhelming number of state and regional officials led by the State Presidents of Puntland Abdiweli Mohamed Ali and Galmudug Ahmed Du’ale Geele Haaf, paraded next to the plane to handshake the Somali president, we were completey out of sight to be able to capture the event, we then asked the Puntland’s Mudug administration to get us a better location that would allow us to cover the welcome and handshake events; fortunately we were allowed by the Mudug governor to get to closer location; when we approached the permitted new location, Soldiers shouted loudly warning us (Journalists) not to move; we informed them that we are Journalists and have been permitted to get closer by the Mudug governor and infact the Mayor; the Soldiers got bitter rushed to us and started pushing us back forcefully and beat us using their gun-backs’’ recounted Journalist Bahja.

Among the five assaulted Journalists, Bahja the only female Journalist among the five was the only one that sustained severe injuries mainly on her face with bruises below her left eye and left lower jaw. Bahja was taken to a clinic to receive treatment in Galkaio soon after the assault. The four male Journalists were fortunate not to be injured.

The Media Association of Puntland (MAP) will be following up with Bahja Abdulahi on if she will seek further treatment and or medical check-ups such as X-rays etc.

“There was absolutely no reason for them to intimidate, harass and physically harm the Journalists,” said MAP Chair Mohamed Dahir, who called for the Federal and Puntland officials to investigate the matter without delay. “The reporters were assigned to cover the event and the security forces could have surely recognized them as members of the media on duty.”

MAP demands the Federal Government and Puntland to assume the full responsibility of the violent act of assault against Journalists who were performing their duty and seeks authorities to immediately investigate and punish those behind this horrible violence.

On a very serious note, Bahja Abdulahi has also informed MAP that her photo taken after the January 13th, 2018 incident showing the injuries on her face were published without her consent by Somali media/journalist guilds. The MAP calls for the Somali media organizations and or Journalists unions to maintain high ethical standards and respect the privacy of victims.

Photo; January 10, 2018, Garowe;  Left – MAP Chair Mohamed Dahir Warsame, Right – President of the Republic of Somalia, H.E Mohamed Abdullahi FarmaajoMAPChair&SomPresidentJAN2018

Earlier on January 10, 2018, at a meeting held in Garowe organized for Puntland civil society groups & the Somali President H.E Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo, MAP Chair addressed the concerns surrounding the safety of Somali Journalists and absence of thorough investigations on crimes committed against Journalists.

The Somalia media continue to be potential victims of danger due to the lack of knowledge on the dangers and risks that affect journalists in Somali, the limited understanding of institutional capacity needs, the lack of platforms for dialogues with authorities and the law enforcement, as well as the lack of a common concerted effort to combat these crimes of opportunity and impunity.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)’s annual global impunity index released on the last October 2017, Somalia has the world’s most exceedingly worst record for solving the murders of journalists, with 26 unsolved cases documented in the past decade.


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