Africa Media Development Foundation (AMDF) strongly condemns the arrest of Somali journalists -Khadar Awl Ismail and Abdiqani Ahmed Mohamed in the line of duty.
Khadar Awl Ismail works as director of Radio Daljir and Abdiqani Ahmed Mohammed works as producer for one of Puntland region’s popular broadcaster-Radio Daljir.
Reports say the journalists had an on air interview on September 5 with the family of a woman who was allegedly raped and killed last year in Garowe-Puntland, and the victim’s family had during the interview faulted the court of first instance for releasing the suspects.
In reaction to the allegations, journalists received invitations to the court 6th September – the next day which they obliged, hoping to hear the judiciary’s part of the story and their reaction to allegations of “judicial travesty”, unfortunately, it turned out to be a plan to arrest and detain the journalists.
AMDF gathered that other journalists who were in the court at the time where asked to go home without court officials attending to their questions, while Ismail and Mohammed were arrested and taken to Garowe’s main prison.
Speaking with AMDF, Radio Daljir confirmed that the journalists have been released on bail, nonetheless, “the threats and intimidation against Radio Daljir journalists continues unabated”.
It is unfortunate the way authorities no longer have respect for journalists who are constantly in the line of duty.
The arrest and detention of Ismail and Mohammed is unlawful and baseless, and it should never have happened, hence, harassment and threats on journalists and Radio Daljir as an organization must stop.
We are calling on Somali authorities to refrain from any act of threat and intimidation of journalists as it is an infringement on their fundamental human rights and freedom of the press.
Authorities must be fully aware of the duties of journalists and see the media as partners towards attainment of an informed and developed society.