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Somalia: Media Face Arrests And Assaults In The Election Year

 SomaliaSomalia – Somalia’s media are facing arrests and harassment in the election year. With Somalia’s delayed elections pushed back again, Journalists reporting on politics and opposition candidates have been assaulted and detained by the Somali authorities.

The Somali parliamentary elections, which were due to be held on February 25, are delayed again. Somali lawmakers last week cited a lack of funding and security reasons to delay the election. The Somali lawmakers extended parliamentary elections to March 15.

According to a report by the Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS), a state leader threatened Journalists who reported about the militant group al-Shabab. Abdalle Ahmed Mumin, the secretary-general of SJS, said that assaults against Journalists increased in 2021. Reporters even faced cyberbullying for covering political news.

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According to VOA, when Journalists cover political news, state authorities deliberately harass Journalists. The authorities block them from covering election news. Journalists face pressure while covering election news. Muthoki Mumo of the Committee to Protect Journalists, told VOA that press freedom is tested during elections in the country.

The delay in the election is driving the political instability in Somalia. The elections were supposed to be held a year ago. Earlier, disagreements between the government and the opposition resulted in delays in the election. A long-running rivalry between the federal government and regional state leaders have caused political instability in Somalia.

According to VOA, the militant Islamist group al-Shabab said to disrupt the upcoming election. The group reportedly warned Somalis to stay away from the polls.

According to the SJS report, Journalists covering early rounds of voting and election campaigns have been harassed or detained by the state authorities. Authorities in Galmudug blocked journalists from reporting from the polling station during the selection of delegates in November.

Police in Hirshabelle detained seven radio journalists in January for broadcasting an interview with an opposition group. In the South West state, security officials detained eight journalists.