24 June 2023
A potential breach of journalistic ethics has seemingly occurred within Somali’s state-run media outlets, Somali National Television (SNTV), Radio Muqdisho, and SONNA, according to a knowledgeable internal source.
Tensions are running high between the directors of these outlets and senior producers. The contention is rooted in the alleged refusal to cover the dire situation in Las Anod, a town that has been subjected to indiscriminate shelling by Somaliland forces, causing a significant loss of life and displacing approximately half a million people.
Despite the severity of the crisis, the directors of these media outlets have reportedly declined to cover this major story, allegedly under direct orders from the Minister of Information, Daud Aweys, and his Deputy, Abdirahman Adala.
According to the insider, both President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and Prime Minister Hamza Barre are aware of this controversial editorial decision. The reported governmental directive to state-run media has sparked considerable outrage among the news editors and producers, who believe the refusal to cover such a vital event constitutes a dereliction of their journalistic duties.
The editors and producers have voiced their concerns about what they see as a politically driven interference in the media’s responsibility of reporting on significant national issues. However, they claim their objections have been overruled by the directors, who insist they are merely acting under orders from the senior management.
This reported suppression of news coverage potentially infringes on the media’s essential societal role and undermines the public’s right to be informed about critical national matters. Critics argue that the government should ensure that media outlets operate independently, free from political interference.
As it stands, the alleged censorship is fuelling discontent among journalists and raising questions about the government’s commitment to media freedom and transparency in Somalia. These serious allegations demand immediate and thorough examination, along with a commitment to ensuring journalistic independence.