Belgium’s action in Somali gives Al-Shabab more reasons to kill journalists * Mareeg.com somalia, World News and Opinion.
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Somalia

Belgium’s action in Somali gives Al-Shabab more reasons to kill journalists

Belgium’s action in Somali gives Al-Shabab more reasons to kill journalists Comparing to other professions, journalism is one of the least risky jobs in the world and most rewarding occupation as it aims to inform, educate, entertain and stimulate human consciences. Conversely, in war torn countries, it’s the most dangerous career. As a result, many career journalists lost their life’s trying to report human stories of extreme importance. Unfortunately, this profession gets even more dangerous as irresponsible entities and individuals use as a disguise. With this article, I want to highlight how some governments act irresponsibly and criminally while trying to fight crime. In particular, I want to speak directly to the risk posed by the Belgium government’s ruse on suspected Somali pirate. Currently, Somalia is ranked as Africa’s #1 and world’s #6 most dangerous place to be journalist. Over the past few years, more than 30 media professionals were murdered – 18 within the last year. Just few minutes ago, I was informed that Mohamed Mohamud Tima’adde, prominent Somali journalist and very close friend, passed away in Somalia after sustaining serious injuries from an assassination attempt last week. Other innocent journalists and diaspora returnees killed under similar suspicions in Somalia include Swedish cameraman Martin Alder, Kate Payton a BBC of BBC, Mohamed Ibrahim Raage and Abdisatar Dahir Sabriye. Agreeably, Somalia is the worst place for journalists to work. Nevertheless, Belgium’s action of disguising as journalist makes Somalia even more dangerous to work providing Al-Shabab more reasons to justify their killings of journalists. While other factors play into the killing of lots of innocent journalists, many of the killed journalists were accused of being spies. Even more, some journalists were imprisoned and tortured – and at times sentenced with no due process as considered an enemy of the state. Michael Moore’s case presents a great example of how the actions and reactions of warring groups and thugs compromise risk the lives of journalists. Reading stories of government agents disguising as journalists brings back very bad memories of my journalistic years in Somalia – and I am very concern for my colleagues particularly those working in Somalia. It is very unlikely that you would find a Somali journalist who is not accused of being a spy or working with an intelligence agency. I was not only accused as such and threatened with an execution, but I am also aware of murdered journalists with similar accusations. The Belgium government may have been clever by tricking Mohamed A. Hassan aka Big Mouth but with great cost on journalism – they character assassinated both local and international journalists and put them in much greater risk. This is a real problem – therefore, Belgium and governments like it must bear responsibility for the lost of life and damage caused by their compromising actions. To mitigate, journalists and advocates of the profession must confront the issue and demand an end to such behavior. Journalists in Belgium could take the lead and use this case as a start. In unanimity, however, we must demand; 1. That the government of Belgium gives an apology for its actions in Somalia. 2. That the Belgium government and other violators pay compensations to the love ones of murdered journalists in Somalia. 3. The creation of an international law prohibiting government agencies disguising as journalist Regardless, Belgium government’s action in Somalia is reprehensible and egregious violation of all protocols. And as no action is simply an acceptance in this case, the international community and the professionals of this discipline must strongly respond and make their dismay very clear to the Belgium government. More importantly, journalists across the world must stand in solidarity with their colleagues in Somalia and support by demanding a lasting solution to this problem. Farah Ali farahblue@sejass.org

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