Somalia: NUSOJ Expresses Concern Over Regional Police Commissioner’s Serious Act Against Media Freedom and Journalists’ Safety at Risk
MOGADISHU, Somalia – The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) strongly condemns the recent remarks made by Colonel Mahdi Omar Mumin, the Banadir Regional Police Commissioner.
These statements not only attack media freedom and the fundamental right to freedom of expression, but also pose a serious threat to the safety of journalists in the capital city.
By baselessly accusing the media of “distorting information,” the Commissioner undermines their crucial role as truth guardians in society.
Such mischaracterizations not only endanger journalists but also hinder their ability to hold those in power accountable. This assault on the media is an attack on the principles of democracy and transparency.
Furthermore, the Commissioner’s reference to a “digital roadblock” raises concerns about potential restrictions on social media and online platforms.
This troubling statement suggests a desire to limit citizens’ right to freely express their opinions and access vital information. Censoring the digital space poses a significant threat to media freedom and obstructs the media’s duty to uncover the actions of law enforcement agencies.
The Commissioner’s suggestion that individuals should refrain from criticizing the police and instead rely solely on the court system is deeply troubling.
This restriction on freedom of expression not only inhibits public scrutiny of possible police misconduct but also erodes trust between the police and the communities they serve. Journalists must be allowed to fulfill their role as watchdogs, holding law enforcement accountable for the betterment of society.
Equally concerning is the Commissioner’s attempt to criminalize defamation and subject individuals to criminal penalties for merely expressing their thoughts or critiques of national leaders.
This blatant disregard for the fundamental right to criticize those in power creates an atmosphere of intimidation and suppresses voices of dissent.
These actions directly contradict the principles of democracy and violate Article 18 of the Constitution of Somalia, which guarantees media freedom and freedom of expression.
Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General, stated, “The behavior of the Police Commissioner mirrors that of a police state, and it is deeply disheartening. Journalists should be free to carry out their duties without fear of retaliation or harm from the police.”
NUSOJ urges President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre to promptly and decisively address these alarming attacks on media freedom.
It is crucial for the nation’s highest leadership to unequivocally condemn the Commissioner’s dangerous statement and instruct the police to implement robust measures that uphold the rights of journalists and citizens alike, while ensuring their safety and freedom of expression.