13.03.2012 - UNESCOPRESS

Director-General condemns killings of Somali radio director Abukar Hassan Mohamoud and journalist Ali Ahmed Abdi

The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today condemned the two separate killings of Somali radio director Abukar Hassan Mohamoud in Mogadishu and young Somali journalist Ali Ahmed Abdi. Irina Bokova voiced deep concern over the violence targeting media workers in the country and urged an end to impunity for these crimes.

“I condemn the murders of Abukar Hassan Mohamoud and Ali Ahmed Abdi,” the Director-General said. “I am deeply concerned to see that so many Somali journalists and media workers are dying for exercising the fundamental human right of freedom of expression and their professional obligation to inform the public. Letting such murders go unpunished only encourages their perpetrators to continue using violence to repress debate,” concluded Ms Bokova.

Abukar Hassan Mohamoud, 43, also known as Kadaf, was shot dead by two armed men in his home on 28 February in Mogadishu. As the director of Radio Somaliweyn, he had started working just a few days earlier on re-launching broadcasts of the radio station, which had been attacked and looted by an armed group in 2010. The radio has only been operating online since then.

Ali Ahmed Abdi, a reporter for Radio Galkayo, was shot dead by unidentified gunmen in the north-central city of Galkayo on 4 March. Mr Abdi, who was in his mid-twenties, also worked as an online journalist.

Sixteen Somali journalists and media workers, including Abukar Hassan Mohamoud and Ali Ahmed Abdi, have been listed on UNESCO’s dedicated webpage, UNESCO Remembers Assassinated Journalists since 2008.

In 2011, UNESCO provided equipment and training on safety issues, conflict-sensitive journalism and humanitarian reporting to more than 40 media professionals in Somalia. The purpose of this assistance was to enhance the quality and flow of humanitarian information in the country and neighbouring refugee camps. In 2010, UNESCO, in collaboration with Radio Netherlands Training Centre (RNTC), provided training to 20 Somali community radio journalists, helping them improve their ability to work in an environment marked by conflict.

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Media contact: Sylvie Coudray, +33 (0)1 45 68 42 12

UNESCO is the United Nations agency with a mandate to defend freedom of expression and press freedom. Article 1 of its Constitution requires the Organization to “further universal respect for justice, for the rule of law and for the human rights and fundamental freedoms which are affirmed for the peoples of the world, without distinction of race, sex, language or religion, by the Charter of the United Nations.” To realize this the Organization is requested to “collaborate in the work of advancing the mutual knowledge and understanding of peoples, through all means of mass communication and to that end recommend such international agreements as may be necessary to promote the free flow of ideas by word and image…”




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