Somalia is one of the most dangerous places on earth to be a journalist. In a country racked by conflict, journalists have been deliberately targeted. At least nine have been killed since February 2007, even more have been threatened, arrested and harassed. More than 50 have been forced to leave the country. Radio stations and other media outlets have been repeatedly closed.

The spate of attacks on journalists and the media is more than a by-product of the violence in Somalia. Instead, it indicates a systematic attempt to curtail independent journalism.

The situation for journalists in Somalia is the worst it has been since 1991, when the repressive Siad Barre government was overthrown and the state’s collapse began. The continuing conflict between the Ethiopian-backed Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and clan-based insurgents, many associated with the Council of Somali Islamic Courts, has resulted in widespread insecurity and severe restrictions on freedom of expression.