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Despite the government’s reforms, NGO figures show that threats and violence against HRDs in Colombia in 2013 remained at similar levels to 2012. Somos Defensores (“We are Defenders”) is a Colombian NGO alliance. Provisional figures for their 2013 report show that whilst attacks went down 4% in 2013, the number of assassinations was 76: a 10% increase on the previous year. They also claim that in most cases the perpetrators are not found, increasing perceptions of impunity, and that there was a significant increase in the number of judicial cases brought against HRDs, mainly as a result of the social protests which took place in August. The British Embassy has continued to urge the government not to link the work of HRDs, including peaceful protesters, with the guerrillas or other illegal armed groups, as stigmatisation can lead to violence against them. The British Embassy has also continued to highlight the work of HRDs and their organisations in a bi-monthly human rights bulletin and, through its presidency of the G24 human rights group, has met human rights organisations, and encouraged dialogue between them and the government.

“We agreed on the important role a free and independent media should play in Somalia, and welcomed the Federal Government’s commitment to investigate and prosecute those responsible for the killing of journalists, and to promote press freedom.”
(Somalia Conference 2013: Official Communiqué at GOV.UK.)

Yesterday’s conference communiqué was unambiguous on the need to protect the media in Somalia. Here’s a selection of the international groups working on media policy issues in Somalia, and a couple of recent reports about the media environment in the country – let us know via the comments what we’re missing, and we’ll update the list.

EU fact sheet from Dec 2012 detailing some of the activities of the Somalia Media Support Group of donors, NGOs, and international organisations, and insights into the future strategy for supporting Somalia’s media sector to 2015
CIMA‘s compilation of where Somalia sits in various international press freedom rankings
– Somalia sits in 2nd position in the CPJ’s Impunity Index for killings of journalists
Article 19 has been tracking the development of Somalia’s media law, and recently held a conference on protection of journalists in Mogadishu
– the BBC’s media development arm, BBC Media Action, produced a media environment analysis and a policy briefing about the role of the media in 2011
– the InfoAsAid project we featured a couple of weeks ago includes a pretty comprehensive Somalia media/telecoms landscape report from early 2012 (also here)
– the Center for Law and Democracy published a media law and policy review for Somalia in late 2012 (here’s a piece from Albany Associates about the report)
– Albany Associates is also supporting the government and the UN’s AMISOM more broadly on communications
NORAGRIC is a less usual source for media landscape information, but here’s their March 2012 report on Somalia
– Danish NGO IMS supports a Somali radio station, Radio Ergo
Global Voices covers Somalia with reasonable regularity, as has the Guardian‘s Data Blog

And finally, here are some stats on social media usage in Somalia, courtesy of Social Bakers.

crisisgroup: Victims’ families still wait for justice, three years after Maguindanao massacre | AlertNet By Thin Lei Win Grace Morales knew something was wrong when a friend sent her a text message urging her to go home to listen to radio reports of a massacre close to her home in Maguindanao, a province in the …

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Victims’ families still wait for justice, three years after Maguindanao massacre | AlertNet

By Thin Lei Win

Grace Morales knew something was wrong when a friend sent her a text message urging her to go home to listen to radio reports of a massacre close to her home in Maguindanao, a province in the conflict-torn southern Philippine island of Mindanao.

Her husband and sister, both journalists, were among 31 reporters who had accompanied the family of Esmael Mangudadatu, a rival of the politically powerful Ampatuan clan, that morning to witness the filing of his election papers for the post of provincial governor.

The trip on Nov 23, 2009 led to the election-related massacre of 57 people, described by the International Crisis Group (ICG) as  “one of the worst acts of political violence in modern Philippine history, and the largest number of journalists slain on a single day ever, anywhere in the world.” 

FULL ARTICLE (AlertNet)

Photo: Magic Liwanag/Flickr

Unsurprsingly, the high incidence of violence against journalists, including murders that frequently go unsolved, has not only created an atmosphere of official impunity but led to self-censorship by journalists. Russia is near the top of the list of risky countries in the Annual ‘Impunity Index’ of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), taking 9th place behind Iraq, Somalia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Colombia, Afghanistan, Nepal and Mexico. In nine out of ten cases
those responsible were not brought to justice, which makes killing a journalist a cheap, easy and practically risk-free method of silencing someone. In the last ten years our country has been unable to carry out effective investigations to bring to justice the perpetrators of more than 150 murders of journalists and other media workers. This demonstrates the failure of the system at every level: politics, law enforcement and the judiciary.

Media freedom in the Russian regions? You must be joking… – Part of Russia At The Crossroads, a week-long special on openDemocracy, guest-curated by Human Rights Watch.