A regional court in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu has sentenced alleged journalists to pay heavy fines after being found guilty of accusations against them.
Benadir regional court on Sunday sentenced four journalists to pay fines between $500 – $2000. The journalists were brought to trial following months in jail without being sentenced.
It was the third time the journalists were brought in front of the court. Judges said that they have found evidences for the cases accused against them.
The owner of Shabelle, a local radio station in the town, Abdimalik Yusuf Mohamoud and his station were ordered to pay a fine of $10,000. The judges accused the radio station for airing ‘’false news’’ which are threat to the stability in August, last year.
Mohamoud Arab, a director of Sky FM, which has partnership with Shabelle, was fined to pay $2000 while Ahmed Abdi Hassan, a reporter from Shabelle was also fined $500. The court also fined another Journalist who works for another local station called Risala to pay $500 after being found guilty of defamation.
Meanwhile, the court postponed the hearing of Mohamed Bashir Hashi, another journalist from Shabelle who has been in jail for more than six months without sentenced.
However, the charges imposed by the court against the local journalists were condemned by both local and international media organizations. They accused the latest rulings as an action against ‘’ Press Freedom’’.
Somalia is regarded as one of the riskiest countries in the world to be a journalist. More than 30 journalists have been killed in the country since 2007, according to Reporters Without Borders.