Somali journalists arrested over Garissa massacre coverage
Somali press freedom advocates lashed out at Somalia government officials on Saturday after news 25 staff members at two radio stations were arrested over their coverage of the Garissa, Kenya, massacre on Thursday.
“The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) in Mogadishu “expressed alarm” regarding the media arrests in statement that was issued on Saturday.
The journalists and two staff members were arrested by the National Security and Intelligence Agency after they reportedly broadcast a statement by Al-Shebab leader Ali Dere claiming that the movement carried out the Garissa attack.
The government feels otherwise, according to Mohamed Yusuf, a spokesperson for Somalia’s security ministry.
“The people of Mogadishu don’t need to hear” this, Yusuf told RFI. “It’s terror. Always they send a wrong message.”
Yusuf said that Radio Shabelle and SkyFM were requested, along with the 40 other local radio stations, not to broadcast threats or speeches by Al-Shebab leaders.
He added that Radio Shabelle are most likely “sympathisers” of the group because they address Shebab leaders as “His Excellency”.
“This is another heavy-handed assault on media freedom. It is part of a trend by security authorities to silence independent media,” said Abdirisak Omar Ismail, the president of NUSOJ Supreme Council.