Somali Government has unequivocally distanced itself from the report of International Federation Journalist (IFJ) through a open letter on Friday, accusing it of attacks against Somali journalists.
“The Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism of the Federal Government of Somalia categorically rejects the claims from the International Federation Journalists (IFJ) and wishes to inform the IFJ’s good offices that they were deliberately misled by at least one of its board members,” reads a letter written by the ministry to IFJ officials.
IFJ report released on 11th this month has accused the ministry for Information particularly of “engineering unwarranted attacks against Somali journalists”.
In a letter dated January 12th, 2018, seen by Hiiraan Online addressed to IFJ, Somali Ministry for Information said it was deeply concerned over the accusations against it.
“The Ministry of Information of Somalia expresses its deep concern over IFJ’s accusation that Somali ministry of Information is engineering unwarranted attacks against Somali journalists and Union.in the public statement dated 11 January 2018 entitled ‘IFJ EXPRESSES CONCERN OVER THE ESCALATION OF ATTACKS ON MEDIA FREEDOM IN SOMALIA’, the Ministry of Information whole-heartedly agrees with the condemnations of attacks against journalists, but it categorically refutes allegations made against it in the same article and its previous ill-informed statements,” said the letter.
The letter called on IFJ president, Philippe Leruth and the agency’s Secretary General, Anthony Bellanger to extend an apology on allegations against the ministry.
“The ministry of Information of Somalia falls for IFJ to retract its statement to the contrary and also to make a public apology for their claim. The Federal Ministry of Information of Somalia also challenges the IFJ to produce any credible evidence that Somali authority is tightening the noose on freedom of expression and the ministry of Information’s engineering of unwarranted attacks,” the latter asked the officials.
The allegations of IFJ comes just days after a court in the breakaway Somaliland slapped two journalists with two years in prison for what Somaliland termed ” spreading propaganda against the nation, degrading the nation and distracting national flag and symbol of a foreign country”.
Photo Credit : NUSOJ General Secretary, Omar Faruk Osman, during the Interactive Dialogue on the report at the UN Human Rights Council in September 2015 (NUSOJ/IFJ).
“It is also time for IFJ to seriously investigate the dealings between Omar Faruk Osman and Jim Boumelha since 2006 up to now, including their financial collusion. It is time to objectively conduct an independent audit to find out the truth,” unveiled the Ministry. The open letter also called for the IFJ to stop acting as “the voice of a well-known fraud”.
Faruk was the Secretary-General of Somalia’s media watchdog before he was ousted by the agency’s members through a vote of no confidence in 2011.
The former official of NUSOJ is now one of the board members of International Federation Journalist.