Federation of Somali Journalists (FESOJ) condemns in the strongest possible terms the decision of Barawe local authority banned local journalists to broadcast Barawe FM radio with their local dialect which seems direct censorship undermining the rights of local communities to profess, enjoy and practice their own local dialect and the right the public to understand health messages related to COVID-19
Deputy District Commissioner of Barawe town, the capital of South West State Abdikarim Shiikh Ali ordered in an interview with the same radio Barawe FM to stop broadcasting local dialect known as Chemini or Af-Barawani and warned if they don’t obey the order from local authority, they will face severe consequences.
FESOJ to seek further clarification on the ban imposed on Radio Barawe journalists had contacted Barawe district commissioner Omar Sheikh Sheikh Abdi, who referred the decision and the order is from the Ministry of Information of South West state ,but added that according to article 5 of Somalia’s Constitution the official language of the Federal Republic of Somalia is Somali (Maay and Maxaa-tiri), and Arabic is the second language, therefore Chemini or local dialect is not an official in Somalia and may cause confusion among communities.
“The decision to ban journalists from using their local dailect violates with international norms, and we call on S/West state authorities to reintroduce and allow journalist to resume the Chemini dialect which most of the people in Baraawe can understand and enjoy “Mohamed Ibrahim Moalimuu FESOJ Secretary General said
According to Article 27 of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 1966 (in force 1976) “In those States in which ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities exist, persons belonging to such minorities shall not be denied the right, in community with the other members of their group, to enjoy their own culture, to profess and practice their own religion, or to use their own language” Moalimuu added
Radio Barawe runs very interactive programs in which young people are engaged and interested such as Barbaarta program or Youth program where young people exchange their ideas and social life and the other popular Morning Show which is a widely listened and gained huge audiences.
Meanwhile, the Federation of Somali Journalists also condemns the arbitrary arrest of reporter Mukhtar Mohamed Atosh of the VOA who was arrested by police on Monday evening for what they called wrongfully reporting on a rape case in the Bay region.
The reporter was detained in the eastern police station of Adaadda neighborhood in Baidoa where FESOJ Deputy President Muhidin Husni has visited him today to see his condition and work the quick release of the detained journalist.
We urge the authorities and leaders of Federal Government of Somalia & Regional States to end the harassment and intimidation against journalists and to abandon their plan to vet journalists with the sole aim of silence the independent media to provide the public the information they have a right to know “ Mohamed Ibrahim Moalimuu FESOJ Secretray General said.
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