Tag Archives: Somalia

Audio: Telegraph journalist Colin Freeman on his release from captivity in Somalia

In this Telegraph.co.uk audio interview, Colin Freeman describes how he and his fellow detainee, Spanish photographer Jose Cendon, slept in a cave and ate boiled goat during 40 days of captivity in Somalia.

“The kidnappers didn’t really treat us too badly,” says Freeman.

“We’re were also told on one occasion, the gang that were holding us had had an argument, they were threatening to hold us for another year. We don’t think they’d have really done that, but in that situation your mind dwells on the worst possibilities.”

Following his release on Saturday, Freeman said he would enjoy spending time with his family – and a strong pint of lager.

Official statement from family of BBC journalist, Kate Peyton

Further to the interview and news item on the Journalism.co.uk main page, here is the Peyton family’s official statement, made following the conclusion of the inquest investigating the circumstances of BBC journalist Kate Peyton’s death in Somalia in 2005. The Coroner’s verdict can be read here, as reported at the Guardian.

“We are gratified that, after nearly four years, the Coroner has been able to offer some advice as to how the BBC might improve its treatment of journalists asked to undertake dangerous assignments – especially when there may be aspects of their personal lives or of the nature of their employment that impair their capacity to make a clear and considered judgment of issues of risk, both to themselves and their colleagues.

“However, we have found it baffling, depressing and exhausting that the BBC has put so much of its energy, and considerable financial resources, into preventing that advice from being heard – beginning in 2005 with a claim from a senior newsgathering executive that it was ‘neither necessary nor appropriate’ to look into the detail of the deployment and the role of Kate’s immediate manager in it, and concluding with strenuous efforts to narrow the Coroner’s scope so radically that nothing would have been considered other than events after Kate’s arrival in Mogadishu.

“We would like to believe that the BBC is sincere in its assurance, given in court, that it will incorporate the Coroner’s advice into its future procedures; but given that, since this summer, it has strained every nerve to prevent him from having the opportunity to deliver that advice, and even now has not ruled out judicially reviewing his decision, we have reason to doubt its seriousness.

“We wholeheartedly agree with the substance of the Coroner’s advice. In light of it, we would like to ask whether it is sensible to employ journalists who may be asked to go to dangerous countries on a regular basis using short-term contracts. In our view, this practice presents a clear possibility of the repetition of tragedies such as this.”

Organ Grinder: Jeremy Dear: end casualisation in war reporting

Journalist Kate Peyton, who was killed in Somalia in 2005, was a victim of ‘the creeping casualisation of the media workforce’, argues the general secretary of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ).

Peyton agreed to work in Somalia to protect her contract with the BBC, says Dear.

“It casualisation makes people disposable and discourages dissent and caution. Staff near the end of their contracts feel they have to go to any lengths to prove their worth,” he adds.

British and Spanish journalist kidnapping in Somalia – details still to be confirmed

Although reports with additional information are available online, exact details of the journalists kidnapped in Somalia remain unconfirmed. Articles that name the journalists have been removed from various news sites.

BBC yesterday reported:

“A British and Spanish journalist in Somalia have been kidnapped from the north-eastern Puntland region, local authorities say.

“Government officials said the pair were taken from their hotel in the port city of Bossasso.

“(…) the journalists were in Bossasso to cover the story of piracy hijackings off Puntland’s coast. He says the foreigners were abducted by gunmen along with two local reporters.

“‘The two foreigners are British and Spanish,’ Abdulkebir Musa, Puntland’s assistant minister for seaports, told news agency AFP.

“The office of Puntland’s president confirmed this information to the BBC.”

Journalism.co.uk will update when further reports are received from the relevant sources.

allAfrica.com: Radio director detained in Somalia

Armed Somali government troops have jailed the director of Warsan radio station in the south-western town of Baidoa, reports the Shabelle Media Network in Mogadishu, for allAfrica.com.

Somalian press gets web presence

A website dedicated to coverage of Somali print and online media has launched.

Somali Press Review claims to be the first website to highlight the work of the Somali press, both online and print media.

The London-based website features reviews of Somali news, opinions from selected Somali websites, a summary of some Somali language commentators and feeds from agencies and global new publications featuring Somalia.