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Galmudug: Security forces confiscate journalists’ phones and instruct them to inform authorities before covering election related news

MOGADISHU, Somalia, 13 November, 2019 – Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) expresses concern about the new orders aimed to stifle independent media coverage in Galmudug amid forthcoming local elections and condemns the confiscation of three journalists’ mobile phones in Dhusamareb on Tuesday 12 November, 2019.

Around 8.00pm local time on Tuesday, soldiers from National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) who were masked and led by unidentified officer forcibly confiscated mobile phones from three journalists: Abdikarin Isse Adawe, Shabelle TV cameraman; Abdullahi Warsame Roble, Somnews TV reporter and Mohamed Khadar Moalim Ahmed who works for Goobjoog Media as cameraman and reporter. The journalists were having their evening tea at a downtown restaurant in Dhusamareb town in central Somalia State of Galmudug.

According to the journalists who spoke to SJS, the soldiers separated the three journalists and questioned each of them for about 30 minutes before returning their phones.

“The officer informed us that journalists will be required to contact the security officials prior to reporting any election related news. Also he told us to avoid attending opposition sponsored events and meetings with government critics,” two of the journalists told SJS “After the orders they informed us that we will be called for another meeting soon.”

Galmudug State, a region marred by political frictions, is expected to have parliamentary and presidential elections soon and many of the independent media houses have posted their journalists to cover the state elections.

Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) is particularly concerned about the safety of the three journalists’ mobile phone devices following the confiscation by NISA officers in Dhusamareb. SJS previously documented instances in which journalists’ phones were compromised following seizure by security forces.

“We are worried about the new threats targeting independent journalists in Galmudug,” Abdalle Ahmed Mumin, the Secretary General of Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) said “We call regional authorities of Galmudug and the Somali Federal Government to immediately repeal and stop this unlawful order by NISA officers meant to suppress the free media. Journalists should be able to carry out their duties without fear and interference.” (END) 

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