The Human Rights Journalists (HRJ) and The Somali Media for Environment Science Health and Agriculture (SOMESHA) regret the manager of STN TV in Mogadishu’s decision to fire a cameraman for publishing a post on his Facebook account. The cameraman named Sadam Hassan posted his photo and few paragraphs on his Facebook account describing how a policemen tortured him and his colleague female reporter on Wednesday afternoon March 25. The journalists were covering a demonstration when a police unit stormed and started beating everyone including the two journalists. The police confiscated two cameras before giving them back to the TV manager the following day.
The Human Rights Journalists (HRJ) published the incident on its Twitter and Facebook accounts on 25, March 2018 we also communicated with a police commander who pledged to intervene. The next day, a policeman who allegedly beat the female journalist was arrested.
On Thursday March 26, the manager of STN TV in Mogadishu Ibrahim Mohamed called the cameraman and ordered him to remove the post about his torture from his facebook account and to contradict his post by publishing a new post saying he was not tortured by the police. The manager ordered the cameraman to contact with HRJ and his fellow journalists to unpublish all posts about his torture and the cameraman was fired for refusing to obey these immoral directives from his manager.
The working conditions of local journalists have always been utterly deplorable with most of them working without contract, sick leave or annual leave. Journalists are also underpaid and work excessive hours without compensation. There are many journalists that are employed under “fame for work scheme” imposed by media owners and managers which means employment without payment. Under this scheme, journalists are convinced to work without pay or incentives until they become well-known.
Despite all difficulties Somali journalists have been experiencing, forbidding journalists from posting their opinions on social media and censoring their personal facebook accounts is not only unprecedented offense but also clear violation of freedom of expression.The Human Rights Journalists (HRJ) and The Somali Media for Environment Science Health and Agriculture (SOMESHA) condemn in the strictest terms the sacking of STN TV cameraman Sadam Hassan for merely writing about his suffering after he was tortured by a policeman and appeal to the STN TV Mogadishu manager who is also the owner of Haatuf radio which is a member of IMS funded media owners association SOMA to stop contravening journalists’ rights and to allow the fired journalist to return to his work.