Somali government places tough measures on independent media in Mogadishu
Mogadishu (Harar24) – The Federal government of Somalia has imposed restrictions on independent Somali media outlets in order to keep them from reporting and covering Al-Shabaab activities nor to interview their heads and leaders. Additionally they’ve been ordered to avoid covering security affairs and government operations without approval from the government.
The order was issued by the chief of intelligence in the Benadir region after gathering Mogadishu media owners and directors informing them of the new order, without providing any documents or prior warning. “We were called by Col. Mohamed Aden Koofi, the chief intelligence officer in Benadir, to attend Hotel City Plaza nearby the national intelligence’s headquarter in Bondhere district. During the course of the meeting he said we were banned from covering Al-Shabaab activities, interviewing their leaders or their audio clips, and only to cover security affairs in line with guidelines from security officials” said a senior journalist who attended the meeting.
The attending journalists demanded that Col. Koofi produce an official document stating the orders or to provide an audio or written statement from the government, a request denied by Col. Koofi, who said that the orders were to be bound by no matter what, with those breaking it prone to face “consequences”. “We were disturbed by the orders of Col. Koofi and told him these were clear violations of freedom of speech. We requested him to reconsider his statements, but he flat out refused and left the meeting” another journalist who attended the meeting said.
Somali journalists infuriated by these orders contacted the Minister of Information, Mustafa Dhuhulow, expressing their concerns over these orders, however Mr. Dhuhulow stated that his ministry had no information regarding these orders and would raise the issue to the Prime Minister. Meanwhile, two senior journalists from Dalsan Radio were arrested on Wednesday morning in what’s speculated to be due to their public condemnation and protests over these orders.
Somali independent media outlets have been facing heavy pressure from the Somali government in recent times, with in the last month alone witnessing two independent radio stations, Radio Shabelle and Sky FM, being shut down, taken off air and some of their journalists thrown in jail.