Somalia’s attorney general, Dr Suleiman Mohamed Mohamud, has appointed a special prosecutor for crimes against journalists. Dr Mohamud said that the prosecutor will probe and prosecute “those who carried out killings and maiming of journalists.” He added that perpetrators would face the full force of the law.
The BBC reports that the Banadir regional court had, in May 2020, directed the attorney general’s office to investigate allegations that journalists were being killed in the country. It instructed that those found to be targeting journalists be apprehended.
Media advocacy organisations in Somalia have hailed the appointment of the special prosecutor.
The Federation of Somali Journalists says the move is a positive step towards protection of press freedom. FESOJ said, “We welcome the appointment of a special prosecutor, but we want him to come up with real actions to resolve many of the standing and unresolved cases and also make a change the dire situation in which our journalists are working in.”
The Global Impunity Index, in 2019, for the fifth year in a row, listed Somalia as one of the worst countries in the world at prosecuting murderers of journalists. Meanwhile, according to the BBC, a tally by the International Federation of Journalists indicates that 69 journalists have been killed in Somalia since 1992, making the country one of the deadliest for journalists in Africa.
Umm Muhammed Umar