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Stop hostilities, embrace peace: NUSOJ statement on International Day of Peace

(NUSOJ/IFEX) - On the occasion of the International Day of Peace, 21 September 2010, the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) is highlighting the urgent need for sensible and effective action for peace in Somalia and the laying down of the ruinous weapons in an endeavour to make peace and stability return and thrive in the presently troubled country. In the absence of this peace, journalists have become the most predisposed victims of the interminable armed war, with no particular warring side achieving victory. Yet, they have turned journalists into combat zones where they settle their scores.

With the anguish, displacement and killing of innocent civilian people, peace cannot be achieved through hegemony or greed for power. Human rights have been violated in the worst level of atrocities, rule of law has been replaced with the rule of the gun, and respect for the human race has been completely buried.

A total of 22 journalists have been killed in Somalia since February 2007, with 20 of them being killed in the war ravaged regions of southern and central Somalia. This ominously demonstrates how the war has been waged on journalists and the media houses as a way of fuelling the ongoing hostilities. There is no particular group in civil society that has been victimised like journalists.

The killing of journalists is evidence of the use of crime to silence independent and talented journalists who are committed to upholding the principles and values of free media and free expression. A much more dangerous trend of taking over private media houses has been employed lately by enemies of free expression who turn them into propaganda machines for their hate messages and campaigns. For us, this is the ultimate fight to oppress news and information in Somalia.

NUSOJ calls on all armed groups in Somalia to put down their weapons in silence in order to give peace a chance. Let them turn their fatal guns away from the unarmed journalists so that the media can work and thrive in peace. No peace for journalists means no peace for the people and communities.

Stop Hostilities, Embrace Peace!

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