MOGADISHU, Somalia, 12 April, 2020- Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) condemns the decision by Somali Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports and enforced by Somali Football Federation (SFF) to bar Goobjoog Media Group from accessing stadiums in Mogadishu for sports news coverage on 9 April 2020.
According to the documents of the ban seen by SJS, the Minister did not cite reasons for the ban. In his press conference on 9 April, SFF president Abdiqani Said Arab said they were bound to adhere the orders from the Minister of Sports and Youth, Khadijo Mohamed Diriye.
According to Goobjoog Media director, Hassan Mohamed Mohamud, SFF informed the management of Goobjoog Media that their journalists were barred from accessing all sports stadiums under the Ministry of Sports and Youth for coverage to censor Goobjoog Media. The decision has triggered the private media group to fear for the safety of their journalists going for assignments.
“The Minister’s directive has ordered officials- including security- to enforce the ban on Goobjoog Media. Consequently, we are now unable to send our journalists for assignments out of fear for their safety. We are also concerned that this order might be affecting other government departments,”Goobjoog Media director, Hassan Mohamed Mohamud told SJS.
Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) condemns the decision aimed to curb the media freedoms and intimidate the journalists and media organizations while denying their constitutional right to access to information.
“We are extremely concerned by the Ministry of Sports and Youth’s orders targeting Goobjoog Media, which represents gross violations against the operation of the independent press and further endangers the safety of the journalists,” Abdalle Ahmed Mumin, Secretary General of the Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) said, “We call for the Ministry of Sports and Youth to revoke its decision and allow Goobjoog Media and its journalists to report sports activities without obstruction.”
On 29 March, four Goobjoog Media journalists on assignment and their driver were briefly detained by officers from the National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) in Mogadishu and later released without charges.