A television journalist in Somalia was shot dead on Tuesday evening, meaning that the death toll for Somali journalists this year has risen to 16.
Ahmed Farah Ilyas, who was widely known as Saakin, was a reporter working for Universal TV. He was attacked on Tuesday evening by unidentified gunmen as he travelled home after work, and was pronounced dead on the spot.
The murder took place in the volatile Sool region, which is part of the Somaliland republic.
The twenty-five-year-old’s death is the latest in a string of attacks targeting journalists in Somalia which has seen 16 media professionals killed in the deadliest year ever for members of the industry.
Secretary general of the National Union of Somali Journalists, Mohamed Ibrahim told DCMF: "The overall situation for working journalists is getting fiercer than ever, and this is very serious. It is endangering the brave journalists who remain behind to report, and the overall aim of these assassins only want to silence the media and force journalists to either leave the profession or leave the country."
"On behalf of the Somali journalists, I condemn all the violations against the press, especially the murder of the latest killing in the town of Las-Anod and call for the Somaliland authorities to investigate and bring the killers to justice. I also call for the Federal Government of Somalia to take all necessary steps in ensuring the safety of the working journalists and launch a joint investigative unit that probes the crimes against the journalists," he added.
DCMF condemns attack, urges Somali government to take action
Doha Centre for Media Freedom (DCMF) has repeatedly called for the authorities to take steps to eradicate the culture of impunity which means that journalists are targeted regularly and those responsible are not brought to justice.
DCMF has been working with journalists and organisations in Somalia to provide safety equipment and training, but these measures need to be supported by the government, who must take a stand against those attacking journalists.
“The centre repeats its calls for the government to do everything within its powers to bring those responsible to justice and ensure that they are not left free to attack others in the future.
The death toll of journalists in Somalia this year has been increasing on a monthly basis, and the culture of impunity which abounds in the country poses a significant and dangerous threat to journalism and media freedom.
President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has the opportunity to make a stand for human rights and media freedom by ensuring that justice is done in these, and other unsolved cases in Somalia by launching comprehensive investigations. By setting a precedent and creating a deterrent for those who target the media, he will improve the conditions for journalists throughout the country.”
Source: DCMF, NUSOJ