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New Deputy Prime Minister makes threatening statements against independent media

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders strongly condemns Deputy Prime Minister Abdirahman Ibbi's recent statements on Radio Garowe criticising Somalia's independent news media and threatening to combat them. Ibbi is both deputy premier and minister of fisheries and marine resources in the new national unity government.

"The deputy prime minister is picking on the wrong people," Reporters Without Borders said. "Somalia's journalists are not to blame for the country's difficulties; they are among its victims. We urge the new president, Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, to publicly oppose these statements and to do everything possible to protect journalists."

In his 3 March 2009 comments, Ibbi described the media as "a destroyer not a builder" and said the government would wage a fight against the press "similar to the war against the warlords." He accused journalists of "misreporting political developments" and "exaggerating the government's mistakes."

Reporters were either "opposition" or were "threatened by the opposition" into misreporting events, he added.

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