The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) vigorously condemns the raid against the privately-owned Universal TV office in Mogadishu by some members from Somalia police force on Saturday morning around 9:40 AM local time.
According to Abdullahi Kulmiye Hersi, a Universal TV Director, who was at scene, about 10 armed policemen raided in the TV premises while on live transmission and soon started shooting inside the TV building which definitely created great fear and panic among journalists and all media workers in the center despite no casualties occurred.
So far, there is no detailed explanation of the real motive of the raid but government officials are now investigating the matter and confirmed they will share with us the outcome from the ongoing investigations of this incident.
“We strongly condemn the violent act on Saturday’s raid by the police against the journalists and media workers at Universal TV and this indeed shows blatant disregard for freedom of the media” Mohamed Ibrahim Moalimuu NUSOJ Secretary General said.
The Universal TV managing directors and leader of Somali Journalist Union Mohamed Ibrahim Moalimuu have had an urgent meeting with the Internal Security Minister Honorable Mohamed Islow Du’aale and with other senior officials from communication departments of Somalia President and Prime Minster offices who have similarly showed how they are upset about the raid against Universal TV office and underlined that the government will initiate a proper investigation to take necessary legal action against anyone found involvement of violations against media workers and Universal TV station.
“We welcome that the high government offices to intervene quickly with the case but we demand that justice be brought to the perpetrators who were behind the raid of Universal TV media house” Moalimuu added
Late last week Somalia military court orders the arrest of two soldiers on charges of torturing and threatening two local journalists Abdullahi Dahir Abdi and Said Warsame Sabriye in Mogadishu on Monday 18 February 2018 and expected to face trial in the coming days or weeks.
In the late months of 2018 National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) with the support of the European Union office for Somalia through Free Press Unlimited held two Peace Councils in Mogadishu.attended by senior officers from security sector , justice, journalists and the Ministry of Information and Tourism of Federal government of Somalia aimed for raising awareness amongst security agencies, national authorities and institutions, civil society to strengthen the rule of law and stop the culture of impunity and now the positive development is that some senior government officials who had participated in those two Peace Councils are now leading the initiative to protect and confirm the safety of journalists and media houses.
The freedom of the press in an exceptionally important aspect of any democratic society. The ability to criticize government policy and allow the Somali people a voice in the most important matters of policy is the cornerstone of both the freedom of the press and democracy itself. Protecting the independence of the press is essential if democracy in Somalia is to remain strong.