22 April 2009

NUSOJ unveils bulletproof gear for journalists


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In recognition of Somalia being the most dangerous country in Africa for journalists, the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) has got their journalists' backs covered - literally. This month, NUSOJ distributed 20 bulletproof jackets and helmets to independent journalists and targeted news organisations in the most volatile areas of the country.

"These bulletproof jackets and helmets will improve the safety of Somali journalists who are threatened daily by the dangers of flying shrapnel and other dangerous objects as a result of war and violence. We must support our journalists even morally, but above all this is practical solidarity for our colleagues," said NUSOJ.

The gear was presented at a ceremony on 9 April attended by journalists and government officials. First Deputy Prime Minister Abdirahman Haji Aden, who attended the launch, publicly acknowledged the safety crisis journalists are facing and pledged government support.

"Since our union made all these commendable efforts to protect our journalists, we as a government that is responsible and mandated to protect journalists as citizens officially tell you today that all government forces have a special duty to protect with diligence any journalist that feels endangered," he said.

The equipment was made courtesy of the Doha Centre for Media Freedom, which has donated a total of 100 bulletproof jackets and helmets to Somali media professionals.

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