22 July 2010
Speak out for Somali journalists

Somalia is one of the most dangerous places on earth to be a journalist. More than 30 reporters have been killed by armed groups since 1992 - including nine in 2009.

The most recent journalist killing occurred on 4 May 2010, when three gunmen shot dead broadcast journalist Sheik Nur Mohamed Abkey as he was returning home from the state-run Radio Mogadishu. Members of the armed opposition group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the killing.

As well as facing serious threats from armed groups, Somali journalists have also been harassed and intimidated by the country's Transitional Federal Government (TFG). Faced with such threats, many have fled the country.

Amnesty International has called on the Somali authorities and armed opposition groups to respect freedom of expression amid the growing government crackdown on independent journalism.

You can show your solidarity with Somali journalists by recording an audio message of support, which will be made available to radio stations broadcasting into Somalia. Radio is an extremely popular medium of communication in Somalia, so your messages should reach journalists and many other Somalis.

If possible, you should work with the Somali diaspora in your country and try and record your message in both your own language and Somali.

Alternatively, you could record one of the suggested messages below, which were prepared with Somali human rights defenders. You can listen to the correct Somali pronunciation by clicking on the links below.

Xushmay xuquuqda Suxufiyiinta: Respect the rights of journalists.

Ha ka Xad-gudbin Saxafiyiinta:- Don’t commit violations against journalists.

Ha dilin Suxufiyiinta, Qofkii war helaa talo helee: - Don’t kill journalists, he who gets news can suggest and decide.

How can I record my message of solidarity?
Ipadio is a phone blogging tool that allows you to call a number and leave a message, which will be passed on to Somali radio stations.

After calling the number, you will hear the message "This number is unregistered, enter the number of a registered ipadio user".
You can then enter the PIN number - 1818, followed by the # key.

You will then be asked to enter a second PIN number, which is 2222.

You can call from 60 different countries - find the number for your country here. All numbers should be free to call from landlines.

If your country is not listed, you can still use a number for a different country but please note that you may be charged for an international call.

Sign the petition
You can also demonstrate your support for this action by signing the petition below, which will be sent to Transitional Federal Government of Somalia.

Call on the TFG to:
Respect and protect freedom of expression and end all practices that threaten the right to freedom of expression, including threats against journalists and media outlets by the Transitional Federal Government authorities and armed groups associated with the government.

Ensure that prompt, effective and impartial investigations into the killings of all Somali journalists are carried out, and investigate all threats of violence against journalists.

Establish, with the support of the international community, an independent commission of inquiry, or similar mechanism, to address impunity for crimes under international law committed in Somalia.

Image: The burial of Said Tahlil Ahmed, the director of Radio HornAfrik, who was killed by masked gunmen in Mogadishu on 2 February 2009. © NUSOJ

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