The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today condemned the murder of Somali journalist Hassan Osman Abdi and called for measures to improve the safety of media workers in the country.
“The murder of Hassan Osman Abdi is a severe blow to a country where the media have paid a heavy price for exercising the human right to freedom of expression. The death of journalists undermines the right of people to be kept informed. Somalia’s reconciliation and reconstruction will not take place without securing respect for these two rights. I call on the authorities to take urgent measures to improve the safety of journalists and investigate the murder of Mr. Hasan Osman Abdi.”
Hassan Osman Abdi (29) was a journalist and director for Shabelle Media Network, a private radio and television network in Somalia. He was killed on 28 January at his home in the capital, Mogadishu. According to local sources, Abdi was shot dead by five gunmen after returning from Radio Shabelle, where he worked on political issues.
Twenty-one Somali journalists and media workers have been listed on UNESCO’s dedicated webpage, UNESCO Remembers Assassinated Journalists, since 2006.
In 2011, UNESCO provided equipment and training on safety issues, conflict-sensitive journalism and humanitarian reporting to more than 40 media professionals in Somalia. The purpose of this assistance was to enhance the quality and flow of humanitarian information in the country and neighbouring refugee camps. In 2010, UNESCO, in collaboration with Radio Netherlands Training Centre (RNTC), provided training to 20 Somali community radio journalists, helping them improve their ability to work in an environment marked by conflict.
Media contact: Sylvie Coudray, +33 (0)1 45 68 42 12, s.coudray(at)unesco.org
UNESCO is the United Nations agency with a mandate to defend freedom of expression and press freedom. Article 1 of its Constitution requires the Organization to “further universal respect for justice, for the rule of law and for the human rights and fundamental freedoms which are affirmed for the peoples of the world, without distinction of race, sex, language or religion, by the Charter of the United Nations.” To realize this the Organization is requested to “collaborate in the work of advancing the mutual knowledge and understanding of peoples, through all means of mass communication and to that end recommend such international agreements as may be necessary to promote the free flow of ideas by word and image…”