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Media Rights Group Criticizes Somalia for Violence Against Journalists


A Geneva-based media rights groups has criticized Somalia's government for its treatment of journalists after a Somali radio station accused government forces of killing one person at its headquarters Tuesday.

The Press Emblem Campaign said in a statement Wednesday that there is an "escalating spiral of violence" against journalists in Somalia, calling the country the second most dangerous place for media workers after Iraq.

The group urged the government to publicly declare its commitment to protect the rights of journalists and media freedom.

On Tuesday, journalists for Shabelle radio in Mogadishu said government troops fired shots at the station, killing a civilian outside the building and sending employees ducking for cover.

It is not immediately clear why the forces opened fire on the building.

It was the second time in four days that police have surrounded the media headquarters.

Government soldiers raided the building on Saturday, briefly detaining at least 16 employees. At that time, troops accused the journalists of attacking them with grenades, a charge the station denies.

The government has closed down the station more than once in the past, accusing it of inaccurate reporting.

Mogadishu has been plagued by almost-daily violence since January, shortly after the government and Ethiopian backers ousted a rival Islamist movement from power.

Battles between Islamist insurgents and pro-government forces have killed thousands and prompted more than 100,000 others to flee the city.

The violence has complicated the Somali government's effort to assert authority across the war-ravaged Horn of Africa country.

Somalia has not had a stable central government since warlords ousted dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.

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