conflict in Somalia continues taking its heavy toll resulting in loss
of lives on a very large scale. Media practitioners have been victims of
this conflict. Many journalists and leaders of news media organisations
have received death threats on several occasions and have narrowly
escaped assassination attempts, while some of them were assassinated.
Intimidation and repression against the human rights persist unabated in
many regions of the country. Hostile employers also victimise many
journalists who end up losing their jobs, which is denial of fundamental
human rights of the media workers.
Violations of the social and economic rights of journalists undermine
their rights to the enjoyment of just and favourable work conditions.
Some 98% of media workers are employed orally instead of written
contract of employment. Workers do not earn fair wages and equal
remuneration for work of equal value. Most salaries are between
US$18-$50. This is insufficient for a decent living standard for
themselves and their families, because the minimum amount an average
family can live for a month is US$100.
Leisure time, relaxation, limitations on working hours, overtime and
paid holidays are completely unfamiliar in Somalia. Media employees do
not get equal opportunities of promotion, because the current criteria
is based on how close the employee is to the media boss or whether he is
of the same clan or sub-clan as the media owner, instead of being based
on seniority and competence. Young unskilled journalists are employed
regularly since they don’t require payment. Employers do not provide
health and safety assistance for employees even while on assignment.
Violations of human rights of journalists in Somalia have been
unprecedented since 2006. Multiple pressures including the use of
intimidation and detention based on false allegations, self-censorship,
propaganda and suppression of the truth have been the major features of
the onslaught on the rights and freedoms of the news men and women.
Human rights of the media professionals are further undermined by media
workers’ poor social conditions.