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Information minister speaks out against NUSOJ's Annual Report

(NUSOJ/IFEX) - 25 January 2012 - The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) condemns in the strongest terms possible the malicious falsehoods and defamatory statement by the Minister of Information, Posts and Telecommunications of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG), Abdulkadir Mohamed Ahmed (Jahaweyn), regarding NUSOJ's report on the plight of journalists.

The NUSOJ Annual Report highlights the plight of journalists who have been the victims of all forms of attacks, including outright repression of media freedom and journalists' rights by the Ministry of Information, Posts and Telecommunications and other elements within the TFG. NUSOJ and its leadership have been relentlessly persecuted, suffering harassment, intimidation, arrest and even interrogation.

The Ministry denied the use of these repressive measures against journalists and their national union, but the facts contradict the Minister's rebuttals. Ministry officials were brutally involved in covert and overt activities to limit the ability of NUSOJ members to assemble peacefully in March 2011 and unfairly tried to facilitate the prosecution of five NUSOJ leaders, among other actions.

NUSOJ is of the view that the Minister has the right to respond to our report, especially as it is one of our expectations that such a response will help to progressively move towards better protection and promotion of rights. Unfortunately, the Minister, characteristically and yet again, missed the opportunity to address the salient issues contained in the report.

Instead, the Minister chose, as in the past, to pursue a savage attack as part of a planned "illegitimate conspiracy" against NUSOJ and its members. NUSOJ calls into question the consent of the Office of the Prime Minister and the top leadership of the TFJ regarding the libellous statement made by Minister Ahmed.

We boldly stand by the contents and context of our report as it relates to the state of the rights of journalists in Somalia. Press freedom continues to be curtailed and violations of the rights of media personnel and organisations continue unabated, including verbal, psychological and physical abuses. The employment of the police and the judiciary in these attacks has been unrelenting.

Click here to read the entire press release
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