Nothing Can Justify the Murder Against the Journalist
Mogadishu Isniin 22 October 2012 SMC
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*Nothing Can Justify the Murder Against the Journalist.*
MOGADISHU, Oct. 22--- As the emotional effusions caused by the Jamal
Osman’s Guardian piece has now subsided a bit, it seems the right moment
for those affected by the unsubstantiated claims in the article to have
their say and voice their objects to the content and implications of what
the writer has asserted as facts but were merely careless journalism.
As a member of Somali media community and have been operating in the
exceptional circumstance of our country with my fellow journalists and
compatriot for the past eight years, I believe I have every right on my
behalf and the half of Somali journalist fraternity to respond to the
dangerous thesis put forward by the writer of the article.
This is an attempt to refute on an intellectual level to an article that is
largely riddled with lazy journalism and off-the cuff pronouncement that
try to rationalize the cause of death of Somali journalists rather than
attempt at starting a constructive debate over corruption in the media.
*Unsubstantiated and misleading claims *
Let’s first and far most make it unambiguously clear that the vast majority
Somali Journalists are honest, professional and hardworking without whose
dedication to the truth and determination to work in exceptional
The world would have never known the suffering of our people during the
20-year old misery that beset the country in particular the civil conflict,
the recurring drought, famine and outbreaks of diseases without the brave
reportage of events that has galvanized the international community’s
support for our communities.
There are always individual bad apples everywhere and in every profession
and Somali journalists know and acknowledge that and have been attempting
to stamp out bad practices of the few that damage the reputation of the
Somalia media community of whom I am proud and honored to belong to.
The thesis of Jamal Osman’s article posted on the website of the Guardian
that “the majority” of Somali journalist die as result of grudge stemming
from their involvement in corruption and clan loyalty is contrary to the
facts and attempts to divert the attention from the systematic political
violence targeted at Somali journalists.
All Somali journalists and the general public as well as the international
media and human rights watchdogs and the world community at large agree
that the vast majority of Somali journalists are targeted in attempt to
silence the only independent, neutral voice from a country mired by
21-years of chaos and lawlessness.
Jamal’s assertion that “some” of the Somali journalists die as a result of
being collateral damage after being “caught in the crossfire” in the
violence in Somalia is far from the truth as, according to the National
Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), so far “a couple of Somali journalists
have been recorded as having died as a result of being caught in a
crossfire” of the warring sides but the rested died of targeted political
violence aimed at eliminating sources of truth.
Under international and Somali law journalists are not soldiers but
civilians who can never be legitimate targets and that they should be given
the same protection as every other civilian.
*Reactions from Somali Journalists*
The immediate reaction of Somali journalists, particularly those who dare
to report from within their communities despite the daily and present
dangers, and the wider general public, was understandably one of disgust,
shock and utter disbelieve that one who claims to pertain to the same
profession was misleading the world about the real cause of the political
violence leveled against the Somali journalists.
The claims came at a time when Somali journalists are in the midst of a
spree of killing and suffering from deep pains and grief for the loss of 15
members of our community this year, the deadliest since record of killing
of Somali journalists began.
Our community found the content of the article as unsubstantiated,
uncorroborated and unthoughtful in content; one “based on coffeeshop
hearsay” rather than facts as prominent Somali blogger put it. And in terms
of tone author of the piece came across as bigoted, callous, arrogant,
patronizing and belittling of the brave local Somali journalists’ role as
trusted watchdogs of our society and guardians of democracy, human rights
After reading Jamal’s article one is left wondering if there is any other
ethical, honest, hardworking journalist left in Somalia except the
self-righteous writer who says he was ashamed of himself for being
associated with the profession, an uttering that showed his true colour as
selfish self-promoter who cares not about the lives of fellow human beings
but of trying to win accolades even on the expense of the lives of innocent
His uttering that, by implication, justifies the brutal murder of Somali
journalists were, to say the least, adding insult to misery and worst
subliminal cover and coded call for the killing of Somali media workers.
The article was never aimed at reform but more of cover, albeit clever one,
for future killing of innocent Somali journalists by those interested in
silencing them since the Jamal piece is clearly propagating that MAJORITY
of journalists die because of clan loyalty and graft they involve in.
Somali journalists saw thrust of thesis of Channel 4’s Jamal as an attempt
to discredit martyrs of press freedom as suicidal and brainless morons who
made themselves as legitimate targets of political violence.
By portraying Somali journalists’ situation in that light, Jamal implicitly
was giving cover to anyone interested in murdering journalists as he
painted our murder as merely a case of corruptions and clan related and not
for what it is as a systematic political violence aimed at silencing the
voice of truth. It was therefore a subliminal incitement to violence and
coded call for more killing of journalists.
Somali journalists came to the conclusion that Jamal could be partly
responsible for the murder of journalists here as he portrayed himself as
an agent giving cover for the continuing violence against media workers and
an apologist for the perpetrators of the heinous murder of our colleagues
by using international platforms such as Channel 4 and the Guardian
newspaper to give a stamp of approval as a legitimate opinion piece by a “trusted western journalist”.
Another impression one gets from reading the piece is that Jamal is saying
that Somali journalists “had it coming” simply because of their profession
leading him to feel that “as if we are watching a group of people
committing suicide one by one”.
Jamal, as privileged western-raised and educated Somalo-British “journalist” approached the issue as outside observer detached from the
daily realities of the local Somali journalist.
With why-don’t-they-eat-cake mentality and holier-than-thou attitude Jamal
tried to rationalize deaths of Somali journalists in a way that suits him
and took advantage the country’s global image as the most corrupt in the
world thus sure to find ready ears for his unsupported claims of widespread
corruption among Somali media as plausible interpretation of journalists
murders as a cause for it.
*Futile attempt at damage control*
Following the fallout from the article that led to widespread condemnation
and revulsion at the baseless content of his article and its cruel and
dangerous implication Jamal and his yes-men launched damage control drive
aimed at sparing what is left Jamal’s reputation among Somali journalist
fraternity by giving slanted interviews to selected Somali TV stations.
In the first of the two interviews I chanced to watch Jamal was visibly
fazed, defiantly and arrogantly persistent at his claims. He was nervous
and tried to maintain his ground and at one time during local Somali
language Universal TV interview described journalists in Mogadishu who
freely expressed their anger at his claims as “morons”.
but during the last one I watched he reluctantly humble trying to give in
and slightly tweaking his previous stance from “the majority of *JOURNALISTS
* killed in Somalia are murdered as the result of grudge” that result from
corruption and clan loyalty to his belatedly tweeted new stance that "Corruption & clan influence r killing our *JOURNALISM PROFESSION*" clear
move at damage control exercise but a futile belated one that never repairs
the dent caused to his reputation and his relations ith Somalia journalism
*Way forward for Jamal Osman*
Jamal’s attempts at explaining himself so far have not gone far enough and
as a fellow human being I think I should offer him an unsolicited advice
to this disgraced and disowned member of our community.
My advice to Jamal is this: Since you have committed* such grave
mistake*and betrayed Somali journalism community who have suffered so
Come out and bravely and sincerely and with a bit of humility apologize for
pain you have caused and retract your baseless allegations and call to
violence against Somali journalists. And since a serious
and irreparable rift and mistrust has opened between you and our community
you better leave this noble profession for which you have shown unfit to
belong to. Perhaps you can consider being a London cabbie for a change.
Oops! I already hear the dissenting protest cries from the London cabbie
community. But guys, your compatriot has a family to feed, you know!
Mohamed Odowa, a Mogadishu based, freelance writer for some international
media agencies including, the Scotland based, www.streetnewsservice.org and
the German News Agency (dpa)
Somali Journalists Association Network (SOJANET) is a non Governmental and
nonprofit organization launched 24 Oct 2010 in Kampala, Uganda, by a group
of exiled Somali Journalists to unite Somali journalists around the World:
*By Mohamed Odowa*
Web Updating, Somaliweyn Website
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Somaliweyn Media Center (SMC)