Somali Journalist at Risk of Persecution


A Somali journalist was told by the Upper Tier Tribunal (Asylum and Immigration Chamber) that he does not have to change his profession to avoid persecution in Somalia. A country plagued by attacks towards journalists from both Al-Shabaab and Government agents alike.

The 29 year old who remains anonymous, initially worked as a teacher in Somalia and later changed his career to journalism, broadcasting for a radio station. The issue was whether or not pursuing his chosen career could put his life in imminent danger. It was acknowledged that to continue working as a journalist would compel him to change his mobile number frequently and live in hiding.

National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), report that Somali authorities restrict journalists’ ability to work freely throughout the police and judiciary. Al-Shabaab has been able to threaten and eliminate journalists in government controlled neighbourhoods.

Reference was made by the court to crimes against journalists, which have been reported to have been committed with impunity. In 2014, 47 journalists were arrested, five media buildings were attacked and repressive laws passed.

The court ruled that he should not be expected to change his career and it was enough that he would be in danger if he continued to work in his chosen career as a journalist.