Somalia President Accuses Journalists of Being Linked with Al-Shabaab

MOGADISHU (Somaliguardian) – Somalia President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo has lambasted Somali journalists as members of the militant Islamist group Al-Shabaab in reaction to a question asked over his government’s stifling of journalists in media crackdown.

The President said some of the journalists lacked basic knowledge and experience while others may have links with Al-Shabaab.

In addition, the President reiterated that he had signed into a media law that protects the rights of media and journalists. But rights groups and media watchdog groups had earlier deemed it a draconian measure to crackdown on press.

Local journalists say many of their colleagues have been arrested, assaulted and threatened, while many others have been denied access to information or forced into exile since the incumbent President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo has come to office in 2017.

Amnesty International had earlier accused the current administration of bribing media organizations to cover up facts on the ground while forcing to dismiss journalists who report events based on impartiality – as part of efforts to silence independent journalists.

Abdullahi Hassan, a lawyer and researcher with Amnesty International said the media law that President Farmajo signed was an amendment to existing 2016 media law.

“President Farmajo says the notion that his administration is terrible for media and journalists is propaganda. How? His administration arbitrarily arrested, harassed, assaulted and threatened many journalists, denied them access to information, more than 10 fled the country during his term and are in exile.” added Mr Hassan.

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