Freelance journalist Jamal Farah Adan gunned down in the street in central Somalia

This statement was originally published on on 2 March 2021.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns a radio reporter’s murder yesterday by two gunmen in the city of Galkayo, in central Somalia, and calls on the Somali authorities to take urgent steps to improve journalists’ safety.

Jamal Farah Adan, who freelanced for Radio DaljirRadio Galkayo and Radio Garowe, three of the most important radio stations in the centre of the country, was gunned at around 6:45 p.m. as he sat outside a shop owned by his family.

According to the information obtained from the local hospital by the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), RSF’s partner organization, he died almost immediately after being shot three times in the head and neck. The two gunmen fled the scene and, at the time of writing, no arrests had been made.

Colleagues said Adan, 56, had recently received threats in connection to his criticism of operations carried out by Al-Shabaab, an Islamist armed rebel group that is responsible for most of the murders of journalists in Somalia. More than 50 journalists have been killed in Somalia since 2010, nearly half of all the African journalists murdered during the same period.

“This latest murder of a journalist, the first in Somalia in 2021, is a chilling reminder of the terrible dangers to which those who try to report the news are exposed in this country,” said Arnaud Froger, the head of RSF’s Africa desk. “We condemn these summary executions worthy of a bygone age and we urge the authorities to adopt concrete measures, such as the creation of a national mechanism for protecting journalists, and to pursue the efforts already begun to combat impunity for these killings.”

In September 2020, the Somali authorities appointed a special prosecutor with the task of investigating the more than 50 murders of journalists of the past decade. This was an unprecedented step in Somalia.

When RSF visited Somalia for the first time the following month and met with the president and prime minister, an undertaking was given to impose a moratorium on arrests of journalists in connection with their work. The promised moratorium has yet to materialize and now the country is embroiled in a political crisis, with presidential and parliamentary elections on hold.

Somalia is ranked out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2020 World Press Freedom Index.

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Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) is a network of human rights journalists in Uganda working towards enhancing the promotion, protection and respect of human rights through defending and building the capacities of journalists, to effectively exercise their constitutional rights and fundamental freedoms for collective campaigning through the media.

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