The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today strongly condemned the violent action by Somalia's security forces against a leading independent media network in Mogadishu.
According to an IFJ statement, police on Saturday cordoned off the building hosting Shabelle Media Network, which consists of Radio Shabelle and SkyFM, and barred the entry and exit of media workers until they broke the gate of the building.
Police confiscated the digital archives of the two radio stations and took the organisation's 36 journalists to the criminal investigations department where they were detained for more than six hours.
"The authorities' heavy handed actions, arbitrary detention of journalists and shutting down of Radio Shabelle and SkyFM, shows blatant disregard for freedom of the media," said IFJ President Jim Boumelha.
The police raid occurred after the Ministry of Interior and National Security, acting upon the orders of Ministry of Information, Posts, Telecommunication and Transports, gave the Shabelle Media Network five days to vacate the building.
"We demand that Somali police immediately withdraw from the offices of all Radio Shabelle and Sky FM, return their equipment and allow them to go about their journalistic work," said Boumelha.
In a separate incident, the IFJ expressed its deep sadness following the death of Somalian broadcast journalist Mohamed Mohamud Tima'ade who succumbed to wounds sustained in an assassination attempt.
The IFJ has called on the world community to address the safety crisis facing Somali journalists and the clampdown on Somalia's independent media community by the country's federal government.
The Brussels-based IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 134 countries