Somalia arrests Shabelle reporters after story criticizes the president
Two journalists have been arrested in Somalia after they broadcasted an allegedly dangerous story last week on Shabelle, a local radio station in Mogadishu. Somalia’s Ministry of Information is now talking about the detention and has accused the two men of broadcasting an untruthful story that endangers national security. The story claimed Somali President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed has yet to pay a visit to Mogadishu’s war-zones after al Shabaab militants attacked his convoy.
“Shabelle has refused to take its apology for broadcasting baseless news-story and then Somalia’s national security agency was ordered to arrest Shabelle executive director and editor” a government statement said.
Sunday, Shabelle Media Network Executive Director Abdirashid Omar Qase, and station editor Abdi Mohammed Isma’il (known as Abdi Ud), were arrested. But, Shabelle argues that they quoted the information from reliable sources, adding that the report was also aired by local and international news outlets including Voice of America (VOA).
In December, Shabelle won a press freedom award from Reporters Without Borders. The award helped highlight the plight of reporters in Somalia, a nation that still lacks a central government.
In 2007, two Somali journalists were killed in Mogadishu in separate attacks within hours of each other and infringement against freedom of speech has become routine in Somalia.
In April last year, former dismantled Hizbul Islam ordered local radio stations in Mogadishu to stop playing music.
Since the fall of Somali central rule in 1990, more than 15 journalists have been killed in different regions in Somalia.