The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) strongly condemns the arbitrary arrest and ongoing detention of journalist Mohamed Ibrahim Bulbul by the Somali Federal Police (SPF). NUSOJ unequivocally demands his immediate and unconditional release.
Mohamed Ibrahim Bulbul, Editor in Chief of Kaab Somali TV (an online television platform), was arrested on the afternoon of August 17, 2023. He was taken into custody after allegedly investigating and publishing a story that the police did not like because it imputed corruption within their ranks.
In line with its core mission to safeguard independent practice of journalism and provide protection for journalists who face attacks while carrying out their professional duties freely and fearlessly, NUSOJ emphatically asserts that the detained journalist, presently held at the Crimes Investigations Department of the SPF, is being singled out due to the performance of his journalistic duties and was operating well within the framework of his professional and constitutional rights.
“It is rather perplexing that, instead of focusing on investigating the alleged crimes brought to light in the story, the police have chosen to exert their full force against the journalist as a means of intimidation. The issues highlighted in the story hold significant public interest, as they involve allegations of misappropriation of public funds and the deprivation of livelihoods for others,” stated Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General.
NUSOJ demands immediate redress, commencing with the prompt release of Mohamed Ibrahim Bulbul from custody. Furthermore, NUSOJ underscores the responsibility of the police to thoroughly investigate reports of suspected criminal activities, rather than resorting to the victimization of whistleblowers and journalists who expose alleged misconduct or unveil uncomfortable truths.
“The arrest and detention of journalists based on suspicions arising from their journalistic work are categorically unacceptable. The grounds for Bulbul's arrest and continued detention lack justification. Professional ethics prevent him from disclosing his sources, and it is inappropriate for the police to demand such information from him. This assault on media freedom can only be rectified by the immediate and unconditional release of the journalist from police detention,” Osman stressed further.