UNESCO chief condemns killing of Somali radio journalists
The Director-General of UNESCO, today condemned the killing of two Somali radio journalists Abshir Ali Gabre and Ahmed Hassan Mahad in Middle Shabelle province on 16 May and called for improved safety of journalists in the country.
“I condemn the killing of Abshir Ali Gabre and Ahmed Hassan Mahad,” Koïchiro Matsuura said in a statement released in Paris, where UNESCO is headquartered.
He called on “all responsible Somalis in a position of authority to be mindful of the safety of journalists whose professional activity is essential for dialogue and conflict resolution.”
Journalists, Mr. Matsuura said, “must be able to exercise their profession safely, in view of the fact that press freedom is an extension of the basic human right of freedom of expression and a pillar of democracy and good governance.”
Abshir Ali Gabre and Ahmed Hassan Mahad, who worked, respectively, as news editor and reporter for Radio Jowhar, were killed when gunmen opened fire on the motorcade of Mohammed Omar Deele, governor of the Middle Shabelle province. At least six people are reported to have been killed in the ensuing gun battle.
They bring to 17 the number of journalists killed on duty in Somalia since 1992, according to the Committee for the Protection of Jounalists (CPJ), which ranks Somalia as the world’s 12th most dangerous country for the press.