Government Battles Truth in SomaliPosted: February 13, 2013
Abdiasis Abdinur Ibrahim, journalist, was wrongly convicted and jailed this year after insulting the Somali government as well as allegedly reporting false news about a local rape victim, Lul Ali Osman. Osman was also charged and sentenced to jail after a having her interview with Ibrahim in her own restaurant; they were arrested on sight. According to the NUSOJ Secretary General, The Somali government conducted unfair trials on both parties by intimidating the defendant, and violating each of their defense rights during the trials. “Charging a journalist under penal code for doing his journalism work means criminalizing journalistic work,” the General said, “We are against trying a journalist under penal code.” What is especially ironic and corrupt about the arrest is that both Ibrahim and Osman were arrested for a report that had not yet been written or published. Nevertheless, the Somalian journalist was criminally charged for “defamation” and “spreading false news”, which are terms used loosely in the courts of the Somalian government. This type of corruption highly discourages any upcoming journalist solely dedicated to reporting the truth. Without “free press” available to inform citizens, Somalians will have less protection, and therefore withhold a framed perspective on what is actually happening within the country.
It was shocking to me when I stumbled across this article. I did not expect for such a federal attack against journalists to exist in the modern days. Basic freedom rights, which seem obvious to me as an American, are not fairly distributed with most nations. Indeed, there are foreign government powers which intend to rule its nation without any regard for the public interest. For a brighter future, Somalians must stay loyal to their reporters, and continue to delegate the press as public leaders and government watchdogs. Ibrahim and Osman have been sentenced to a full year in prison for their unfair charges. The NUSOJ Secretary General, and many others, are fighting to right this wrong and reinstate justice in the court systems. In what ways is our US government different from Somalian rule? Is our government corrupt, or at least susceptible to arresting our own journalists for lame charges? What are some ways American journalists protect themselves to prevent their risk of federal punishment?