November 2, 2017, is the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists and the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) has bemoaned the state of impunity of crimes committed against journalists.
Three journalists were killed in Somalia this year, making 40 the number of journalists murdered in Somalia from 2012 to 2017.
NUSOJ has documented 72 cases of journalists who were arrested and detained because of their journalistic work.
According to Omar Faruk Osman, the NUSOJ Secretary General, journalists feel that it would be neither useful nor safe to inform the law enforcement authorities and this speaks volume about the atmosphere of lawlessness and impunity in many parts of the country.
“Rampant culture of impunity that exists in Somalia is the biggest enemy to the fundamental rights of journalists such as the right to life and the right to free expression. The government had taken action against suspected Al-Shabaab killers but not those in government or associated with government forces” said Osman.
“There is no accountability for perpetrators of crimes against Somali journalists. Endangering journalists and freedoms is coming to every corner”.
The Brussels based International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has termed Somalia as the most dangerous country to practice journalism in Africa. The IFJ knows of 61 journalists killed in Somalia since 2007.
Media workers in 2017 were frequently injured in either targeted bomb blasts or terrorist attacks in this part of the Horn of Africa country, it said.
All investigations of killings of journalists led no credible conclusions or any criminal prosecution.
“We had hoped that the new federal government of Somalia would take swift and decisive measures to reverse the phenomenon of impunity, and establish the rule of law and respect for human rights without discrimination,” declared Osman.