October 19, 2012 ·2 Comments
By Liban Ahmad
The reaction by some Somali journalists in Mogadishu to the Guardian article by the Somali journalist, Jamal Osman, vindicated Jamal who argued that corruption also caused the murder of many journalists. Jamal defended his article in a Universal TV interview last night. He said journalists were murdered in Mogadishu for one of three reasons: ( 1) they were targeted for working for the government media organizations (2) they were accidentally killed in suicide bombing operations against government officials, or ( 3) they were killed by assassins for a political group who felt the journalist had been a propagandist for a rival group.
Most journalists work for local radio stations in Mogadishu that were launched as mouthpiece for local sub-clans. Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland administration, has a press law and political parties, but one neutral radio station and several daily and weekly newspapers.
No Mogadishu radio station has a code of conduct because radio stations, like post-1991 shops, were launched without local authority permission, and managers and journalists are accountable to the owners and associated sub-clans. Why are some Mogadishu journalists trying to mislead public about the fact that some of their colleagues accept bribes ( sharuur) ? Jamal was right to tell us that “corrupt journalists expose themselves to serious potential consequence.” This admirable act of self-criticism.
Nearly six years ago I listened to a radio debate between Harun Ma’rtuf of VOA Somali Service, and the veteran Somali journalist Mahmud Mohamed Afrah, on the role of journalists. Harun Maruf laughed in disbelief to relate the story of a journalism seminar participant who said that belonging to sub-clan with a militia and technical was one of the qualities a Mogadishu-based journalist “should have. ”
Rather than organizing a mass rally against Jamal Mogadishu journalists can write a letter to the Guardian or publish a rebuttal if they beg to differ with Jamal on how Somali journalists operate. Jamal has begun a timely debate on unethical journalism practices by some Somali journalists who are bribed or ask for bribes.
Somali journalists are dying from corruption as much as conflict