The conflict in Syria, a spike in Iraqi bloodshed, and political violence in Egypt accounted for the high number of journalists killed on the job in 2013. A CPJ special report by Elana Beiser
The conflict in Syria, a spike in Iraqi bloodshed, and political violence in Egypt accounted for the high number of journalists killed on the job in 2013. A CPJ special report by Elana Beiser
Nairobi, December 16, 2013--Police in the semi-autonomous republic of Somaliland on December 13 raided the Hargeisa offices of the critical independent daily Hubaal, arrested two staff members, and ordered the publication to be shut down, according to news reports. This is the third time the paper has been targeted this year.
Police arrested four journalists on December 3, 2013, and detained them for nearly a week for covering a peaceful protest in the capital of the semi-autonomous republic of Somaliland, according to local journalists and human rights organizations.
Nairobi, November 21, 2013--Somali authorities arrested two journalists, one of them the victim of an alleged rape, on Wednesday in Mogadishu, the capital, and charged them with defamation in connection with a report on the alleged rape, according to news reports and local journalists.
CPJ launches US report
Following CPJ's release of its report on the state of press freedom in the United States, the organization is pursuing high-level meetings with the White House. CPJ had drafted six recommendations that were shared with President Obama, including calling for a guarantee that journalists would not be at legal risk or prosecuted for receiving confidential and/or classified information.
CPJ continues to work toward securing a meeting with the Obama administration in order to discuss the report's findings.
"Given our 32-year history fighting for press freedom around the world, we believe CPJ can make an important contribution to the press freedom concerns and debate in the United States," CPJ Chairman Sandy Rowe wrote in a blog published the day after the report.
The young staff members of Radio Shabelle, whose offices were in the relatively safe section of Mogadishu next to the airport, are no longer feeling safe. On Saturday, while presenters were on the air, heavily armed security forces raided the Shabelle offices and arrested the three-dozen staff members at gunpoint, according to a statement by the Shabelle Media Network. The security forces dismantled and took all of the equipment for Radio Shabelle and Sky-FM, a sister station in the same building, as well as Shabelle TV.
Nairobi, October 28, 2013--Journalist Mohamed Mohamud, commonly known as "Tima'ade," succumbed to gunshot wounds on Saturday and died at Medina Hospital in the capital, Mogadishu, local journalists told CPJ. Unidentified gunmen shot Mohamed, a reporter for the popular, privately owned, U.K.-based Universal TV, on his way to work on October 22 in the Wadajir district of Mogadishu.
On the morning of Tuesday, October 22, 2013, Somali television journalist Mohamed Mohamud, nicknamed "Tima'ade," was seriously wounded when unknown armed men attacked him on his way home from work. He was shot more than five times. Colleagues and local residents in Wadajir district, where the attack took place, immediately rushed him to Madina Hospital in Mogadishu.
Nairobi, October 22, 2013--Somali authorities must work quickly to identify the motive in today's murder attempt on a broadcast reporter and bring the perpetrators to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. The journalist, Mohamed Mohamud, has been hospitalized with serious injuries.
It could have been the script for a John Le Carré intrigue. On Saturday October 12, Belgian security agents arrested Mohamed Abdi Hassan, a kingpin of Somali piracy known as "Afweyne" (Big Mouth), and his associate Mohammed M. Aden, nicknamed Tiiceey, a former governor of Himan and Heeb province.
Nairobi, October 16, 2013--Unidentified assailants threw two grenades at the Galkayo offices of Radio Daljir in the semi-autonomous region of Puntland on Tuesday night, according to news reports and local journalists. The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the attack on Radio Daljir, which has been targeted in the past, and calls on authorities to identify the perpetrators and ensure they are brought to justice.
Hubaal, Somaliland's critical and much-beleaguered daily newspaper, is back on newsstands after a presidential pardon last week. The paper was shuttered on orders of the attorney general in June without explanation. In April, two gunmen, subsequently identified by authorities as police officers, raided the office of Hubaal and attacked its staff after a series of critical articles accusing the government of nepotism and misuse of office. Editor Hassan Hussein and Managing Director Mohamed Ahmed were both convicted on defamation charges last month and given prison terms. The two journalists were released on bail and are appealing their convictions.
Last week, as Egypt plunged deeper into political violence, CPJ recorded a sad statistic: the death of the 1,000th journalist in the line of duty since we began keeping records in 1992. While that benchmark death came amid a military raid, seven out of 10 killed journalists were in fact murdered in reprisal for their work-- and the killers have evaded justice in almost all of those cases, our research shows.
Nairobi, August 19, 2013--Three assailants killed veteran radio technician Ahmed Sharif Hussein outside of his home in the Shibis neighborhood of Mogadishu on Saturday, according to news reports and local journalists.
Nairobi, July 18, 2013--Two Somali journalists were wounded, one critically, when they came under fire on Wednesday while covering the aftermath of a landmine explosion in the southern port city of Kismayo, according to news reports and local journalists. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls for an immediate and thorough investigation.
The African Union's special rapporteur on freedom of expression and access to information, Commissioner Pansy Tlakula, has launched an auspicious initiative in East Africa to counter criminal defamation and sedition laws. Since independence, authorities and business interests in the East and Horn region have used criminal laws on sedition, libel, and insult--often relics of former, colonial administrations--to silence their critics in the press. "Criminal defamation laws are nearly always used to punish legitimate criticism of powerful people, rather than protect the right to a reputation," Tlakula said in a statement.
Nairobi, July 8, 2013--Two unidentified gunmen killed TV reporter Liban Abdullahi on Sunday evening in Galkayo, a central town in the semi-autonomous region of Puntland, according to local journalists and news reports.
Nairobi, July 3, 2013--A court in the capital of the semi-autonomous republic of Somaliland today convicted the manager and editor of the independent daily Hubaal of defamation and sentenced them to prison.
Hubaal's editor, Hussein Hassan Abdullahi, received two years, while the paper's manager, Mohamed Ahmed Jama, was sentenced to one year in jail on charges of defamation and false publication of news capable of disturbing public order, local journalists told CPJ. The court issued a fine of 2,000,000 Somaliland shillings (US$300) to Hussein and 1,000,000 shillings (US$150) to Mohamed, according to news reports.
Fifty-five journalists fled their homes in the past year with help from the Committee to Protect Journalists. The most common reason to go into exile was the threat of violence, such as in Somalia and Syria, two of the most deadly countries in the world for the profession. Others fled the threat of prison, especially in Iran, where the government deepened its crackdown ahead of elections. A CPJ special report by Nicole Schilit
In our special report, "Journalists in Exile," CPJ examines the issues facing journalists who are forced to flee their countries due to intimidation, threats, or fear of imprisonment.
Abdiaziz, 26, a Somali journalist exiled in Uganda, contributed to local and international media outlets before being arrested in January 2013. He was accused under Article 269 of the Somali penal code for insulting the government and spreading false evidence. His crime was interviewing the victim of an alleged rape. After the charges were thrown out and he was released from prison, he fled the country, under harassment and fearing for his safety.
Listen to the podcast on the player above, or right click here to download an MP3. (3:41)
Read CPJ's special report, "Journalists in Exile."
Nairobi, June 12, 2013--The acting attorney general in the semi-autonomous republic of Somaliland should withdraw his request to suspend the independent daily Hubaal, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. A court ruled on Tuesday that the paper had been indefinitely suspended at the request of Aden Ahmed Mouse, according to news reports.
Nairobi, May 30, 2013--Authorities in the Jubbaland region of Somalia must apprehend the gunmen who attacked freelance journalist Abdulkadir Abdirisak in the southern port town of Kismayo on Wednesday evening, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
Gerardo Ortega's news and talk show on DWAR in Puerto Princesa, Philippines, went off as usual on the morning of January 24, 2011. Ortega, like many radio journalists in the Philippines, was outspoken about government corruption, particularly as it concerned local mining issues. His show over, Ortega left the studios and headed to a local clothing store to do some shopping. There, he was shot in the back of the head. His murder underlines the characteristics and security challenges common to many of the killings documented as part of CPJ's new Impunity Index: A well-known local journalist whose daily routines were easily tracked, Ortega had been followed and killed by a hired gunman. He had been threatened many times before in response to his tough political commentary, a pattern that shows up time and again on CPJ's Impunity Index.
Dear Chairperson Zuma: We ask that you mark World Press Freedom Day, May 3, 2013, by calling for the release of all journalists imprisoned in Africa and appealing for justice in the murders of journalists killed in the line of duty.
New York, April 30, 2013--A senior administration official in Somaliland has said that police officers were the perpetrators of an April 24 attack on the owner of a media network, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on authorities in the semi-autonomous republic to conduct a thorough investigation and ensure that all those responsible are brought to justice.
Two masked gunmen burst into the offices of the critical independent daily Hubaal in the capital, Hargeisa, at around 11:30 p.m. as the paper's employees were proofreading the next day's issue, according to local journalists and news reports. One assailant fired at least once at Mohamed Ahmed Jama, but missed, the reports said. Mohamed is the owner and manager of the Hubaal Media Network, which publishes Hubaal and the English daily The Independent, according to Hubaal Editor-in-Chief Hassan Hussein Abdillahi. Mohamed is also the manager of both papers.
It seemed clear-cut and sadly familiar: A journalist was shot and killed while walking in Mogadishu, one of the deadliest places in the world for the press. Yet in the four weeks that have passed since those initial reports from international and local news agencies--accounts that were then amplified by the United Nations, CPJ, and numerous human rights groups--virtually everything about the case has been cast into doubt. Was there a murder, after all? Who was the woman said to have been targeted? Does she even exist, at least as she was described? What did the people described as eyewitnesses really see? And why, after telling local journalists early on that the case was actually being investigated as a false report, have police gone silent for weeks?
Nairobi, April 22, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Somali authorities to keep their promise to prosecute journalists' killers by investigating the murder of Mohamed Ibrahim Raage. Two unidentified gunmen shot Mohamed around 5:30 p.m. Sunday near his home in Mogadishu's Dharkenley district, according to local journalists.
New York, April 5, 2013--Police in Somalia say they have been holding a woman in custody for much of this week after they say questions were raised about the veracity of reports that a journalist was fatally shot in Mogadishu on March 24.
Last week, two gunmen waited near the home of a young Somali journalist, Rahmo Abdulkadir, who had recently returned to the capital from the Galgadud district in central Somalia where she worked as a reporter for Radio Abudwaq (Worshipper). According to local journalists, 25-year-old Rahmo had just left an Internet café in Mogadishu around 9:30 p.m. on March 24 with a friend when she was shot and killed. Her companion was not harmed.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Subsequent to the publication of this report, questions were raised about the veracity of the account given by the primary sources. CPJ has published two follow-up reports detailing those questions, which raise doubts as to whether a killing took place as described. CPJ continues to monitor the case.
Nairobi, March 25, 2013--Somali authorities must immediately investigate the murder of a radio journalist who was shot dead on Sunday evening in Mogadishu, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
"He's free! He's free!" a friend of mine from Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, shouted down the phone line on Sunday. For a fleeting second I did not know whom he referred to, given the high number of journalists imprisoned in the Horn region of Africa--but then it dawned on me: Abdiaziz Abdinuur had finally found justice. The 25-year-old freelance reporter was arrested on January 10 in Mogadishu for the most incomprehensible alleged crime: conducting an interview.
Nairobi, March 18, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists is gravely concerned by a recent directive from authorities in Somalia's semi-autonomous Puntland region banning local broadcasters from airing content produced outside the region.
Nairobi, March 12, 2013--Somali police attacked and obstructed more than a half-dozen journalists who were seeking to cover a rape trial in Mogadishu on Saturday, as authorities continue to struggle in meeting law enforcement and free expression demands in sexual assault cases. The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the attacks and calls on authorities to hold the officers accountable.
Today marks International Women's Day. Hashtags like #IWD and #InternationalWomensDay have been trending on Twitter. Among the twitterati who voiced their support for women's rights was Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. He tweeted:
PM: Let me reiterate in this House the commitment of our govt. to ensuring the dignity, safety and security of every woman of this country.-- Dr Manmohan Singh (@PMOIndia) March 6, 2013
Nairobi, March 4, 2013--Sunday's decision by an appellate court in Mogadishu to uphold the conviction of a freelance Somali journalist in connection with his interview of a reported rape victim prolongs a miscarriage of justice and is a direct assault on press freedom, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
At any given time over the past two years, as wars raged in Libya and then Syria, and as other conflicts ground on in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, a number of journalists have been held captive by a diverse array of forces, from militants and rebels to criminals and paramilitaries. And at any given time, a small handful of these cases--sometimes one or two, sometimes more--have been purposely kept out of the news media. That is true today.
Spirits of journalists in Somalia, the most dangerous country in Africa to practice the profession, were lifted slightly this week after Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon made several auspicious announcements. The key concern on the minds of journalists in the capital, Mogadishu, is access to justice--both in terms of journalists' own court appearances and in terms of solving the many outstanding murder cases of their colleagues. Twelve journalists were killed in the line of duty last year, the worst on record, and there hasn't been a single prosecution.
CPJ's Robert Mahoney identifies the 10 countries where press freedom suffered the most in 2012. They include Syria, the world's deadliest country for the press; Russia, where repressive laws took effect; Brazil, where journalist murders soared; and Ethiopia, where terror laws are used to silence the press. (3:26)
Despite a relatively peaceful presidential election and the government’s continuing control of the capital, Mogadishu, a record number of Somali journalists were killed in 2012. Amid comparative calm in the capital, targeted killings of journalists and political figures continued, most notably in a deadly September blast at a café frequented by reporters and government officials. Given the ouster of Al-Shabaab insurgents from Mogadishu in 2011, the continuing killings raised concern that journalists and others were being targeted by a widening field of politically motivated antagonists. Though most fatalities occurred in the capital, unknown gunmen killed two journalists in separate attacks in Galkayo, a commercial hub of the semi-autonomous region of Puntland. Three radio stations were forced to close during the year, two on the orders of Al-Shabaab and one at the directive of Puntland officials. Pervasive insecurity has forced dozens of Somali journalists to flee into exile in the last five years, the highest number in the world. Although peaceful in comparison to the rest of the country, the semi-autonomous republic of Somaliland had a high number of journalist detentions.
Attacks on the Press | Bahrain, Bangladesh, Brazil, Cambodia, Colombia, Ecuador, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Somalia, Syria, Tanzania, Thailand
Nairobi, February 5, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the conviction and prison sentence handed down today against a Somali freelance journalist charged with insulting the government by interviewing a woman who said she was raped by government forces. CPJ calls for the sentence to be overturned and for reporter Abdiaziz Abdinuur to be released immediately pending appeal.
"Let's have faith in our judiciary system," Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamed told an audience Monday at London's Chatham House, the foreign affairs think-tank.
Dear Prime Minister Cameron: In anticipation of your meeting with Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud next week, we would like to bring to your attention recent actions taken by the Somali government, as well as the increasing number of unsolved journalist murders in the country.
An increase in press freedom violations last year created a surge of need among journalists, driving a record number of assistance cases for CPJ's Journalist Assistance Program in 2012. More than three-quarters of the 195 journalists who received support during the year came from East Africa and the Middle East and North Africa, reflecting the challenges--including threats of violence and imprisonment--of working in these repressive regions. Here are some of the highlights of our work over the last year:
Dear President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud: We are writing to express our concern about a Somali journalist who has been imprisoned since January 10 for interviewing a woman who claimed she was raped by government soldiers. We are also concerned by recent statements you made in Washington indicating your administration will not tolerate negative coverage by the local press. We urge you to ensure the journalist is released immediately and to follow up on your commitment to create a task force to investigate Somalia's unsolved journalist murders.
Nairobi, January 18, 2013--A veteran producer for the Shabelle Media Network was gunned down today in Mogadishu, the fifth Shabelle journalist killed in 13 months. The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns this murder and calls on Somali authorities to not only investigate, but to follow up on the investigative task force on journalist murders that was promised by Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud in November.
Unidentified assailants shot Shabelle producer Abdihared Osman Aden at around 7 a.m. today while he was walking to work in the Wadajir district of the capital, according to local journalists and news reports. The journalist, who was shot at least three times, died at a local hospital, the sources said.
Nairobi, January 11, 2013--Somali authorities should immediately release a freelance journalist who has been in custody in Mogadishu since Thursday for interviewing a woman who claimed she was raped by government soldiers, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
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.