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NUJ marks the International Day of Impunity

Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General

Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General  -  © Photo: Mark Pinder

23 November 2012

The NUJ joined journalists around the globe taking part in the International Day against Impunity by denouncing the prevailing culture of impunity for crimes committed against journalists in many countries of the world.

The Day to End Impunity, launched on 23 November 2011, marks the anniversary of the 2009 Ampatuan massacre in the Philippines, when 32 journalists and media workers were murdered.

The goal is to achieve justice for those persecuted for exercising their right to freedom of expression by drawing global attention to the issue of impunity. On average, every week a journalist loses his or her life for bringing news and information to the public.

The NUJ, working together with the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), is asking members to write to the Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, urging him to consider drastic action towards genuine implementation of international legal instruments' provisions on the protection of journalists by governments around the world.

To mark the Day, the National Union of Somali Journalists published a report detailing the victimisation of journalists and the accompanying impunity of the perpetrators prevalent since 2007.

Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ secretary general, said:

"The perpetrators of violence against journalists are able to escape punishment for their crimes, and without fear of consequences, culprits continue to carry out such acts."

The report said that 45 journalists workers, most of whom working with broadcast media, were killed in Somalia between January 2007 and October 2012. Eighteen media workers were killed in the first 10 months of 2012; making this the deadliest year to practice journalism in Somalia, with Mogadishu the deadliest place to practice journalism in the country.

Jim Boumelha, president of the IFJ, said:

"There is plenty of evidence showing that it is not only the Islamist insurgent groups that that have been targeting journalists. Somali broadcasters and journalists have always operated in an extremely hostile environment where they are also muzzled by the authorities in power or by their henchmen and supporters who want them silenced."

The NUJ has offered support to the Somali journalists and invited Omar Faruk Osman to its Delegate Meeting in October.  DM unanimously voted to pass a motion to launch a global petition in support of NUSOJ members working for RBK, a UN-funded radio station in Nairobi. 

It said:

"DM is appalled by reports that Albany Associates, a British PR company which manages RBK, has been treating the Somali journalists it employs at the station, denying them basic union rights." 

NUJ members signed a petition to UN Secretary-General's Special representative for Somalia Ambassador Augustine Mahiga and the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

The NUJ is urging members to lobby their MP to sign the following Early Day Motion:
EDM 656 Radio Bar Kulan

That this House registers its concern about the working conditions and labour rights abuses at the radio station, Radio Bar Kulan (RBK), run by British PR company Albany Associates with funding from the UN; notes that a petition to the UN Secretary General's special representative for Somalia, Ambassador Augustine Mahiga and the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has been signed by over 40 journalists' and trade union associations, including the International Federation of Journalists, International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC-Africa), the Trades Union Congress of Great Britain and the Federation of Somali Trade Unions; and supports the petition's call to end these labour rights violations at RBK, to restore a working atmosphere that enhances respect for workers and human rights and to compel Albany to engage in genuine negotiations with the legitimate leadership of the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) for the defence and representation of RBK workers in Kenya and Somalia, in particular regarding those sacked or forced to resign and to stop attacks on NUSOJ by Albany Associates.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said:

"The UK must take the lead in putting pressure on the international community to ensure that journalists are protected and those who are killed without redress as they do their job. The report on Somalia makes it impossible for governments to ignore what is happening in that country, which has the reputation as the most deadly in the world for journalists."

Tags: , impunity, Somalia, NUSOJ, IFJ, journalists killed