Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Journalism in Somalia

Yesterday's post about press freedom in West Africa neglected to mention the growing worries over the fate of journalists and journalism in Somalia.

Human Rights Watch unveiled a new report on the matter. On October 19 two gunmen shot Basur Nur Gedi at close range outside a cafe in Mogadishu. The murder of Gedi, the acting manager of Shabelle Media radio, marks the eighth journalist to die in Somalia in 2007. Nearly a dozen have also been wounded.

The identity of the assassins of the eight journalists remain unknown. The US-based rights group also pointed out that Somalia's government has so far failed to condemn the murders, nor have officials commenced an investigation.

According to the group Reporters Without Borders, Somalia is currently ranked 159 (out of 169 countries) in its index of press freedom. The index attempts to measure the degree of freedom journalists and news organizations have in a given country by tabulating the level of abuses toward journalists, including prison sentences, violence and death threats and forms of state-sponsored censorship and self censorship. The group admits that the increase of fighting and violence in Somalia has made it a very difficult country for journalists to work.

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