The Banadir Regional Court today sentenced the head of the Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS), Abdalle Muunin, to a two months prison sentence on Monday.
Mumin was arrested in early October after criticizing a “blanket ban” on extremist ideology. He was taken into custody at Mogadishu’s international airport while on his way to Nairobi. He spent two days at the infamous Godka Jila’ow before being transferred to the criminal investigation department for another several days before being freed on bail , where he remained for five months until his trial.
According to sources, Mumin has been released from custody despite the conviction.
The SJS said they were “outraged” by the judgement against their Secretary General
The debacle began on 10th October when Abdalle read a joint statement by journalists in a press conference raising concerns about a new directive which had been issued by Somalia’s Information Ministry.
The directive “prohibited dissemination of extremism ideology messages, both from official media broadcasts and social media,” and suspended more than 40 social media pages where terrorists “have been spreading their wrong messages and tracking on other media channels”.
Journalists were concerned that the vague wording in the law would limit their ability to report freely on ongoing operations against any armed groups and restrict their media freedoms.
Somalia is regarded as one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists, as they face threats from both government and militant groups like Al-Shabab and a few clan militias.
More than 50 media workers have been killed since 2010 according to RSF’s press freedom index.
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