CPJ Blog

Press Freedom News and Views

Somalia

Blog   |   Somalia, South Africa

Somali journalist lives under threat, in fear in South Africa

Dasar (Clifford Derrick)

Violence has cut through the life of 28-year-old journalist Abdulahi Ibrahim Dasar, from his high school days in Kismayo, the third-largest city in Somalia, to his life as a refugee in South Africa. The turbulence of Dasar's life also explains his entry into journalism, a profession that has made him a target of assassination by hard-line Somali militants. 

Back in 2001 in Kismayo, Dasar had ambitious plans to become an entrepreneur, but bloodshed from local clan warfare forced his family to seek refuge in South Africa. In the peaceful suburbs of Cape Town, the familiar sound of bullets was gone at last. Very little knowledge of English and difficulty clicking the South African isiXhosa language spoken by the people of the Western Cape did not stop him from venturing into small-scale kiosk work selling groceries.

September 22, 2010 10:10 AM ET

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Blog   |   Kenya, Somalia

'A Somali journalist's life is short anyways'

A journalist films an insurgent in Somalia. (Mohammed Ibrahim)

In August, Shabelle Media Network, one of Somalia's leading independent broadcasters, did something incredibly brave--they rebroadcast news and music that the BBC's Somali-language service beams to the war-torn Horn of African nation in defiance of a ban imposed by hard-line militant Islamist rebel groups Al-Shabaab and Hizbul Islam. For Somali journalists, who risk death by crossfire and assassination, and censorship from both insurgents and the weak U.S.-backed transitional government, it was a courageous pushback against forces hostile to independent media.

Blog   |   Somalia

Somaliland elections and coverage surprisingly...normal

Voters at a Somaliland polling station on June 26. (Ahmed Kheyre)Critical voices in the East African media—whether in EthiopiaRwandaBurundi, or Uganda—have been intimidated, banned, blocked, and beaten prior to elections in recent years. Somalia is so embroiled in conflict that even the concept of having elections remains a faraway dream. But in late June, the semi-autonomous region of Somaliland in northern Somalia managed to hold relatively peaceful and free elections with decent media coverage, local journalists and election observers told CPJ.
July 7, 2010 5:29 PM ET

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Blog   |   Somalia

View from a Somali photojournalist's blood-stained lens

This photo was taken just before missiles landed on a press conference in Mogadishu on June 29. (Badri Media)

On Tuesday, several journalists were wounded when missiles were fired on a press conference in the battlefield of Somalia's capital, Mogadishu. When the National Union of Somali Journalists broke news of the attack, I immediately checked in with local reporters. I obtained the phone number of photojournalist Ilyas Ahmed Abukar, expecting to speak to a frantic or traumatized man, but to my surprise, Abukar was alert, calm, and willing to share his personal account of what transpired. After a short conversation, he pledged to continue answering my questions via e-mail. Here is some of what he told me.

July 2, 2010 12:29 PM ET

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Blog   |   Somalia

Somali journalist Mustafa Haji Abdinur wins CNN award

SIMBAAt CPJ’s International Press Freedom Award ceremony in November 2009, Agence France-Presse's Somalia correspondent Mustafa Haji Abdinur—an award winner—pleaded with his audience: “Friends, if a journalist is killed the news is also killed. We need your support now more than ever. Please don’t forget us.” Abidnur, 28, has not been forgotten. We are excited to learn that on Saturday he won the CNN MultiChoice African Journalist of the Year Award in the Free Press category.

Blog   |   Afghanistan, CPJ, Colombia, Mexico, Pakistan, Russia, Somalia, USA

Jon Lee Anderson on courage and journalism

Last week, I attended an unusual event called the Courage Forum at which half a dozen speakers, from tightrope artist Philippe Petit and Sudanese rapper Emmanuel Jal to Virgin founder and chairman Richard Branson, talked about about overcoming fear.

May 12, 2010 10:00 AM ET

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Blog   |   Journalist Assistance, Somalia

Exiled Somali journalists face new challenges in Nairobi

Gesey, left, and Jimale in their Nairobi apartment. (CPJ/Tom Rhodes)

Somali journalists Hassan Ali Gesey and Abdihakim Jimale are roommates these days, living in a tiny, graffiti-ridden room in Nairobi, Kenya. Neither would have wanted to eke out an existence like this, but dire circumstances brought them together—starting with the night three years ago that Gesey saved Jimale’s life.

Blog   |   CPJ, Kenya, Somalia

African journalists face increasing risk for foreign outlets

Abdulle (CPJ)

“I didn’t wear the bulletproof jacket and helmet that Reuters gave me,” explained veteran Somali journalist Sahal Abdulle to a packed crowd at Nairobi’s Serena Hotel for CPJ’s launch of Attacks on the Press. “It didn’t seem right when my colleagues, local journalists, were risking their lives trying to cover the same event.” Abdulle, like all Somali journalists, faces immense challenges in covering the story in his war-ravaged country. According to this year’s findings in Attacks, nearly all the journalists killed in the line of duty in 2009 were local journalists—and nine of them were killed in Somalia.

February 16, 2010 5:32 PM ET

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Blog   |   Somalia

A new mission for Somalia’s Mustafa Haji Abdinur

January 21 marks Press Day in Somalia, the most dangerous country in Africa to be a journalist. As such, few local journalists find much reason to celebrate. With nine Somali journalists killed in the line of duty last year, numerous local journalists have fled, especially from the restive capital, Mogadishu. “The free media is going to die out,” journalist Mustafa Haji Abdinur warned Ron Hill in an MSNBC interview last year after he received CPJ’s 2009 International Press Freedom Award.

January 21, 2010 3:55 PM ET

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