While there was a slight let-up in the two break-away provinces in the north, constant violence on the streets of Mogadishu did not allow much progress for press freedom in Somalia in 2003.
All of the press freedom violations in 2003 took place in the Mogadishu region, which remains a high-risk area both for national journalists and the foreign journalists living there. The press must keep a constant eye out for the many militia in the capital, whose behaviour is completely unpredictable. Several journalists are threatened each year by one or other of the clans that share the city.
There seemed to be a lull in the two break-away states in the north (Somaliland in the northwest and Puntland in the northeast) and no major violation of journalists’ rights were reported there.
2003 saw the emergence of two press freedom organisations which distribute news about the situation of the media in Somalia by e-mail.
Three journalists detained
Mikhail Rashid Barre of Radio Shabelle was detained for several hours on 25 June 2003 in the Lower Shabelle region south of Mogadishu by police who criticised his coverage of events in Somalia.
Abdurahman Mohamed Hudeyfi and Hussein Mohamed Gheedi of the privately-owned radio station Banadir Radio were arrested on the night of 30 June and taken to a detention centre in the capital. They were freed on 2 July without being charged.
Harassment and obstruction
The authorities on 29 January lifted a year-old ban on two BBC reporters, Ahmad Muhammad Kismayo and Muhammad Khalif Gir, who had been accused of a lack of objectivity in their coverage of Somalian developments.