THREATS against Somali journalists have hit a new high, with all rebel groups now issuing death threats based on coverage.
Hizbul Islam rebel – the only group that had not issued any threat – now says it will punish with death any journalist who writes any story about the government side, writes Dennis Itumbi for journalism.co.za.
Hizbul is a faction that is fighting to topple Somalia's interim government has threatened Somali journalists and accused them of supporting the government.
During a telephone interview with journalism.co.za, Sheikh Mohamed Moallim Ali, the information secretary for Hizbul Islam, repeated claims he had allegedly made in a Friday press conference in the capital Mogadishu. He saidÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â that Somali journalists interview government officials and African Union (AMISOM) commanders and rebel groups would "no longer tolerate that and will kill any journalist who covers government and Amisom."
"The news you report is against the jihad and you are not nationalists willing to defend your people and your country," Sheikh Mohamed told reporters.
He urged journalists to "defend the country by using your voice." As an example, he accused Somali news organizations in Mogadishu of "exaggerated reporting" on a story covering AMISOM compensation payments to camel owners after AMISOM peacekeepers killed a group of camels.
"We will know what you are in the coming days," said Sheikh Mohamed.Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â Somalia is considered Africa's most dangerous country for journalists to operate.