17 February 2012
Hundreds of members of the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) have today demanded that attacks against their union by elements with the Transitional Federal Government must stop and called for an end to all interferences and undue pressure on their union.In a nationwide petition signed by 389 members from among NUSOJ’s total membership of 525 journalists distributed in six national branches, journalists rallied behind the leadership they elected at their General Assembly held last 14th/15th March 2011.
“We are against any attack against our union, the National Union of Somali Journalists, and its leaders. We demand that the aggressors take their hands off our union,” said the petitioning journalists. “We choose our leaders independently from any government interference. We confirm our legal general assembly that took place on 14th and 15th March 2011 and we validate its results” they added in a petition sent to the President of TFG and its Prime Minister.
Since holding its general assembly on 14th/15th March last year, NUSOJ had been facing violent opposition from TFG officials who impelled one of union’s former employees, which proceeded to steal the union’s identity and used fraudulently the name of the union.
“Our members have responded to these irresponsible attacks by officials of the Transitional Federal Government by demanding an immediate end to this botched attempt to take over our union,” said Abdweli Hassan Gooni, head of the NUSOJ northeastern branch in Puntland.
Emulating the widespread anger expressed by NUSOJ members against TFG officials, Ahmed Omar Salihi, head of NUSOJ Southeastern Branch said “Authorities must now know that we don’t easily submit to pressure and they must allow our union to organise and represent our members without attempting to put them under their thumb ”.
“Members have given full support to their union and its recognised and respected leadership, which has repeatedly proved its democratic credentials in its struggle to liberate journalists from oppression and manipulation,” said Abdi Aden Guled, NUSOJ Senior Vice President. “Members are ready to stand up in defense of NUSOJ against the attacks of the Ministry of Information and its agents”.
“NUSOJ members have responded with tremendous spirit against the campaign of lies and misinformation waged against their union by the Ministry of Information, Telecommunications and Posts”, says Abdirisak Omar Ismail, NUSOJ President. “We condemn the campaign of lies, defamation, slander and provocations on the part of this Ministry which has no other business in attacking our union”.
“Somali journalists have today started their fight to foil the campaign of intimidation and interference on the part of the Ministry of Information, marked by their sponsoring of imposters, and their attempt to instill fear in the hearts of journalists,” said Ali Moallim, NUSOJ Treasurer.
“The Journalists have spoken out loudly about the need for individuals with the name government to stop meddling in union affairs. Government officials have more pressing issues to deal with and have no business attempting to undermine the journalists union,” said Ahmed Mohamud Mohamed, NUSOJ Secretary for Labour Issues.
“Our journalists have shown they are ready to fight back against any attempt to dominate, manipulate, abuse and oppress their union. This is a major blow to the barefaced oppressors and their agents,” said NUSOJ Secretary General Omar Faruk Osman.
The launching of the journalists’ petition is the first step in the “Hands off NUSOJ Campaign” through which the NUSOJ leaders will be calling on all their supporters, nationally and internationally, to help them end the illegitimate attempt by government forces to undermine and destabilise the union, its leadership and members.