Ameriques Asie Europe Moyen-Orient Internet Nations unies
Somalia13 March 2007

Radio reporter arrested by government troops amid growing hostility toward certain radio stations

Reporters Without Borders today called on the transitional federal government to explain the detention of radio reporter Hassan Sade Dhaqane in Mogadishu since 9 March. It comes amid several cases of violence by government forces against Somali journalists in recent days and mounting hostility to certain media in the capital. Dhaqane works for the privately-owned Horn Afrik radio station.

“If there is no serious criminal charge against Dhaqane to justify keeping him in custody, he should be freed at once,” the press freedom organisation said. “He seems to have fallen victim to the desire of the government forces to punish a news media perceived as hostile. This climate of mistrust is disturbing, especially as government troops with little or no training in keeping the peace often continue to behave like militiamen. Orders should be given for journalists to be treated with respect when they are going about their work, despite the political rivalries.”

Dhaqane and several onlookers were arrested by government troops in the Mogadishu neighbourhood of KM 4 as he was covering a mine-clearance operation that had drawn a crowd. The government confirmed his arrest to Reporters Without Borders’ partner organisation in Somalia, the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), but refused to say where he is being held. He has not been formally charged.

Three journalists with privately-owned Radio Shabelle - Ismail Ali Abdi, Mohammed Ibrahim Raggeh and Mohammed Ibrahim “Ruush” Ali - were assaulted yesterday by Somali troops posted at the entrance to the former defence ministry, which is being used as the headquarters of the Ethiopian troops still in Mogadishu. They had gone there to verify unconfirmed reports that the Ethiopian soldiers had left the building, but found themselves being punched and clubbed by the Somali guards until an Ethiopian officer intervened, checked their IDs and allowed them to leave.

Another Radio Shabelle journalist, Abdirahman “Al-Adala” Yusuf, was stoned by government troops while covering a story in the northeastern suburb of El-Irfeed on 11 March.

Radio Shabelle, Horn Afrik and other local and international news media including the pan-Arab satellite TV station Al-Jazeera are regarded by the government as being openly supportive of the Union of Islamic Courts, which was ousted from power last December. In mid-January, the government stopped three Somali radio stations and Al-Jazeera from working for 24 hours after they broadcast incorrect reports about the security situation in Mogadishu.

In this country
3 June - Somalia
Alarm at TV station director’s abduction near Mogadishu
26 May - Somalia
Radio reporter shot by militia dies of injuries, fourth journalist to be killed this year
22 May - Somalia
Journalist killed in fighting between government forces and islamist militants
29 April - Somalia
Independent news agency launched in Djibouti aims to be reliable source of news about Somalia
27 April - Somalia
Islamist militia closes radio station, arrests three journalists

in the annual report
Somalia - Annual Report 2008
Somalia - Annual Report
Somalia - Annual report 206

Africa press releases
27 May - Gabon
Government imposes news blackout on President Bongo’s health
22 May - Madagascar
Radio Mada reporter freed after two weeks in detention
22 May - Sierra Leone
Newspaper publisher is victim of judicial extortion

africa archives

18 March 2009 - Democratic Republic of Congo
“Bukavu, murder city”: investigation report into murders of journalists in the capital of Sud-Kivu
21 May 2008 - Eritrea
Naizghi Kiflu, the dictatorship’s eminence grise
6 March 2008 - Kenya
"How far to go ?" Kenya’s media caught in the turmoil of a failed election

Sign the petitions
Sign the petition for the release of ten Eritrean journalists