Somali Authorities Arrest Media Rights Defender

SJS Secretary-General, Abdalle Mumin (centre) speaks during a press conference in Mogadishu alongside FESOJ Secretary-General, Farah Omar on Monday 10 October 2022. PHOTO/SJS

Somali security forces arrested the Secretary General of the Somali Journalist Syndicate in Mogadishu Tuesday.

Abdalla Mumin, the head of the Somali Journalist Syndicate, an organization that trains journalists and fights for media freedom in the country, arrests come a day after criticizing the government ban on media and journalists broadcasting al-Shabab messages.

In a series of tweets, Mumin shared a Close Circuit Television video Tuesday allegedly showing security officers in the offices Monday after they left the office. 

The 41-second video shows three men in plain clothes and two in military uniform at the door of the SJS office in Mogadishu at 6:29 in the evening. 

The media rights agency earlier released a statement critical of the government order banning media and journalists from broadcasting militant group al-Shabab messages.

Mumin warned on Monday that the order would be used to target and silence the media and government critics.

He said the order would also affect media coverage of the security operations in the country.

“We are concerned that the new directive might be used to silence the legitimate critics of the government and its security forces including journalists, human rights defenders, independent researchers, analysts and others,” Mumin said.

On Saturday the Somali government warned against spreading al-Shabab messages and propaganda. The group also warned Somali journalists following the government directive. The authorities suspended nine websites affiliated with the militant group.