Thursday February 13, 2020

MOGADISHU (HOL) – Somali
government has dismissed the just released Amnesty International
report on media freedom in the country as ‘fabrications’ and
‘ludicrous claims’ devoid of any evidence.

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Responding
to the report, We
live in perpetual fear
by
Amnesty which points to increased suppression of media freedom in
Somalia since President Mohamed Farmaajo took office in 2017, the
Federal Government said to the contrary, it has ‘challenged
impunity, protected journalists and addressed media freedom in the
last three years.’

Noting
that it had taken steps such as reducing charges and prosecution of
journalists, increased prosecution of officials found guilty of
mistreating journalists and improved relations with journalists, a
statement from the Ministry of Information noted the Amnesty report
not only overlooked the ‘achievements’, but also based on
‘falsehoods’.

In
the report released Thursday, Amnesty said the current administration
had perpetrated offenses against journalists including arbitrary
arrests and detentions, coercion to drop ‘negative stories’,
payment of bribes and use of security forces to intimidate
journalists.

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But
the government rubbished the claims noting Amnesty relied on false
accounts. “Majority of the cases (53%) described in the report are
not accurately media freedom cases and there is no single evidence to
back this fabrication,” the statement read in part.

It
added that some of the alleged victims fabricated the cases in order
to help them secure asylum applications in European countries and
‘the government is fully aware of the circumstances that such
individuals departed from Somalia.’

The
Federal Government also said some of the ‘testimonies and their
false accounts’ are aimed at tarnishing its image.

Amnesty
said the move to oppress journalists was a tactic by Somali
government to retain positive image.

The
quest for a positive image has led the authorities in Somalia to
embrace repressive tactics that fly in the face of international
human rights standards. The authorities have an obligation to uphold
the rights to freedom of expression, information, and media
freedom.” 

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