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In a country were many international journalists feared going to for their safe during its decades long civil war, Somali journalist were the eyes and the ears of the world, the only access to the reality on the ground, but over the years they have become targets, making Somalia one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a journalist.
Since 2007, Somali journalist have been target and killed because of their profession. 2012 has been the deadliest year so far, with 18 journalists murdered in cold blood, 14 in the capital Mogadishu alone.
Mohammed Nour Mohammed works of a Radio Bar Kulan as a reporter and presenter. He barely escaped death in June this year, when two young men with guns attacked him and shot him as he was going home after work. One bullet hit him around the chest and he fell to the ground, the second gun man tried to finish him off, but his gun jammed and Nour was able to run for help.
SOUNDBITE (Somali), Mohammed Nour Mohammed, Radio Bakulan Journalist:
“They were some people who knew that I was a reporter and that I worked for Radio Bar Kulan. Days before I was attacked, they were looking for me and sent me threatening text messages. They attacked me because they were not happy that I was reporting the truth, they wanted me to say that al Shabaab was a Mujahedeen Movement, and I was calling them al Shabaab a militia.”
The Islamic extremist group al Shabaab have been blamed for most of the journalist deaths this year and they have owned up to some of them but not all. After over 20 years of civil war, clan rivalry and militia activity in Somalia, it is widely believe that there are other players who are unhappy with the journalists and the way they report news and information.
Al Shabaab have now been driven out of the capital and other major towns they used to control by the Somalia National Army with support from soldiers of the Africa Union Mission in Somali (AMISOM). In some of the former al Qaeda territories they now apply hit and run tactics using IED’s and grenade attacks on the population as a whole – and journalists in particular.
So far no one has been held accountable for the killing of journalists, and although there is a commitment by the country’s newly elected president and prime minister to set up a taskforce to look into the killings, this has yet to begin.
SOUNDBITE (English), Mohammed Ibrahim, Secretary General of the National Union Of Somali Journalist:
“The journalist need protection, the need safety, but in order to get safety and security environment, the journalist must get justice. As long as there justice is found, safety and security can be found after that and the protection of the journalist, but the only thing that can protect journalist is justice.”
Even with the deaths of their colleagues in an attempt to silence them, many Somali journalist continue to do their jobs, being the voice of the voiceless, although it come with great risks.
Mohammed Nour says he can’t stop what he is doing because he believes it’s the right thing. Two days after 3 journalists were killed in Mogadishu at a popular restaurant in September 2012, he received his most recent text threat, which reads:
SMS Threat: The Infidel, the Infidel – you escaped from the Mujahedeen but god willing within the coming 48 hours someone will offer you blood to god. Mohammed Sharif, you will take the same route your friends took.
SOUNDBITE (Somali), Mohammed Nour Mohammed, Radio Bakulan Journalist:
“The treat still exits and they are threatening to kill me, but whether I die or not I am committed to continue my work, because I believe these threats will end.”
As the world celebrates the international Human Right Days with the theme “my voice counts”, Somali Journalist go to work each day to lend their voice in order to inform the world of what is happening in their country, not knowing whether they will live to see another day or have a voice with which to speak for those who cannot.


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