Human Rights Journalists expresses shock and dismay over the Ministry of Information of FGS attempt to manipulate the independent media by seizing all foreign support for Somali journalists including training opportunities and using them as a tool to destroy the neutrality of Somali journalists.
The Ministry of Information of the Federal Government of Somalia always strived to empower journalists working for state media by providing them almost all opportunities for Somali journalists. Many foreign countries and International NGOs helped Somali journalists but that support ends up in the hands of Ministry of Information of FGS which mishandles and gives fewest chances to independent journalists seen to be loyal to the Ministry of Information. This is a wicked trick to induce independent journalists to become government aficionados.
HRJ has investigated how Ministry of Information distributed opportunities between state owned and private media and found out that eighty nine percent of the chances from foreign countries and NGOs offered Somali journalists were swerved to state media. This crooked policy has led many independent journalists to leave private media and join state owned media.
Besides this, Somali government provide monthly disbursements to several media houses in Mogadishu and in return for this, these unscrupulous media houses exaggerate government performance and that is another threat the government poses to the neutrality and independence of press.
HRJ condemns all attempts to weaken independence and professionalism of the media in Somalia and calls on the Ministry of Information of FGS to end the fight against private media and press freedom and to give the independent media its due.
HRJ appeals to Somali journalists to buckle down and aggressively live up to their core mandate by speaking out for the innocent, defend the powerless, accuse the guilty, pillory the thieves and ask awkward questions, investigate, press and persist. There shouldn’t be any political and corporate pressure on the media on individual journalist.
We must protect and promote the credibility of the media industry by fighting for high standards of professionalism, integrity and dedication to facts, objectivity and fairness in execution of journalistic duties.