News / Africa

Murdered Somali Journalist Remembered

Roopa Gogineni

NAIROBI — Representatives of Somali media gathered in a Nairobi suburb on Saturday to honor the late Somali journalist Ali Shamarke, assassinated by al-Shabab militants five years ago.  The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) both identify Somalia as the most dangerous place in Africa to be a journalist.  Six journalists have been killed in Somalia this year alone. 

Saturday in Eastleigh, a Somali neighborhood in the eastern suburbs of Nairobi, journalists gathered to honor a lost colleague. 

Five years ago, Ali Shamarke, the founder of Horn Afrik Media, was assassinated by al-Shabab militants.  His car was hit by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) as he drove from the funeral of Mahad Ahmed Elmi, a fellow journalist and producer for Horn Afrik Radio.  Elmi had been shot in the head earlier that day. 

Shamarke’s widow, Anab Ali, remembers the night before her husband died. He was uneasy because he had received threats from both the Somali Transitional Government (TFG) and al-Shabab. 

"He was having a nightmare, he kept having the same nightmare, he couldn’t sleep," she said. 

Horn Afrik Media, Somalia’s first independent broadcaster, was once a respected news source. 

Iman Burran, a journalist present at Saturday’s event, remembers the service.  "Horn Afrik was actually independent, free, a balanced report.  It was actually the only neutral media," he said. 

After the assassinations in 2007, Horn Afrik faced continued attacks by al-Shabab, the transitional government (TFG) and clan militias.  Their studios were ransacked and the station is now defunct. 

Since the organized government collapsed in 1991, journalists have been censored, threatened and attacked by all sides in Somalia’s conflict.

Tom Rhodes, the Committee to Protect Journalists' East Africa consultant, said, "In many ways the Somali journalists are stuck between a rock and a hard place with individuals in the government that are opposed to their reporting and then of course al-Shabab which is opposed to their existence."

Just over one year has passed since al-Shabab fled Mogadishu, facing military pressure from African Union forces. 

Despite signs that the conflict is abating, analysts like Tom Rhodes do not believe the situation has improved for the Somali press. 

"I feel that the conditions are still very dangerous for journalists; even in Mogadishu, guerrilla tactics are still used by al-Shabab and there may be others including businessmen, who may target them.   The idea that the al-Shabab has left does not mean that it is safe for press," he said. 

Six journalists have been murdered this year.  Five were under the age of 30.  Rhodes says most veteran journalists, the generation of Ali Shamarke, have fled the country.

"They’re young, they’re inexperienced, furthermore they're trying to make a name for themselves so they're willing to take risks that older journalists would not be willing to do, so of course they get targeted far more easily.," he said. 

With Somalia’s political transition set to end later this month, Somali journalists hope the new government will break from past administrations and promote a free press. 

You May Like

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid