Local and international journalists faced persistent, deadly violence, with both targeted murders and crossfire killings reported. Four soldiers with the African Union peacekeeping mission fired on a Malaysian humanitarian aid convoy in September, killing one journalist and injuring another. The AU mission in Somalia suspended the soldiers and returned them to their home country of Burundi for potential trial. Despite improved security in the capital, Mogadishu, journalists across the country continued to flee into exile to avoid threats and violence. Al-Shabaab militants and other insurgents continued to shutter independent radio stations in southern and central Somalia. Growing insecurity in the semi-autonomous region of Puntland led to increased attacks and arrests of journalists. In Somaliland, President Ahmed Mahmoud Silyano reneged on his 2010 campaign pledge to uphold press freedom and initiated a series of state- sponsored criminal defamation cases against the region's private press.
With at least 10 unsolved murders of journalists in the last decade, Somalia has the worst rating in Africa and the second worst worldwide in combating deadly attacks on the press, CPJ's Impunity Index shows.
4. Sri Lanka
Facing threats, attacks, and harassment, Somali journalists have fled the country by the dozens over the past decade, according to CPJ's annual report on exiled journalists. The exodus has decimated the local press corps and left a significant void in coverage seen internationally. Worldwide, only Ethiopian journalists have fled in higher numbers over the past decade, according to CPJ research.
Insurgents, notably militants with Al-Shabaab, have routinely shuttered stations deemed critical of their operations, seizing the properties for use in spreading their own propaganda. A government-allied militia, Ahlu Sunna Wal Jama'a, also seized a radio station.
Despite 2010 campaign pledges to uphold press freedom, Somaliland authorities routinely filed
politically motivated criminal defamation complaints to silence
critical reporting. Seven cases were filed in
2011 alone, CPJ research shows.
Newspapers targeted in 2011:
Hargeisa Star (three times)
Do you believe the free flow of information must be protected? Sign the #RightToReport petition and demand that President Obama immediately:
1. Issue a presidential policy directive prohibiting the hacking and surveillance of journalists and media organizations.
2. Limit aggressive prosecutions that ensnare journalists and intimidate whistleblowers.
3. Prevent the harassment of journalists at the U.S. border.
Or click here to see the full petition, and join leading journalists like Christiane Amanpour, The Guardian’s Alan Rusbridger, Editor of the AP Kathleen Carroll, and Arianna Huffington in signing on.