Puntland State of Somalia
11 June 2012
VOA Somalia Section Gives Airtime to Pro-Piracy Propaganda
On 9 June 2012, the Voice of America (VOA) Somali Section gave a five-minute interview on the air to a self-proclaimed ‘Somali community elder’ who claimed to be living in Puntland State.
The interview subject, whom VOA reporter Abdullahi Nur Mohamed “Colombo” incorrectly identified as a community elder named Mr. Shire Farah Mohamud, claimed that he lives in Bali-Dhidhin village of Bari Region. Puntland Government has no information confirming the existence of a known community elder named Mr. Shire Farah Mohamud in Bari Region, and therefore the interview subject was a fraud.
Mr. Shire spent the opportunity on the airtime to condemn Puntland Government’s robust anti-piracy law enforcement action in towns and coastal areas of Puntland State. Mr. Shire made baseless allegations, such as: “many houses were bombed in an airstrike”; “livestock was killed”; and “civilians in Bali-Dhidhin village were displaced, including more than 30 missing persons.”
This interview with a self-proclaimed ‘Somali community elder’ is demonstrative of VOA Somali Section’s biased reporting toward developments in Puntland State. The VOA reporter’s lead-in questions portray the picture that the reporter is sympathetic to pirates and other criminal groups.
The VOA Somali Section’s Editorial Board includes individuals motivated by animosities of the 1990s clan conflicts and who abuse the responsibility to provide fair and balanced reporting on developments in Somalia. The Editorial Board has a track record of biased reporting, promotion of anti-Puntland media rhetoric, habitually using interview subjects and sources of questionable background to create sensational journalism, and tilting news coverage in favor of one Somali political group or another, at the expense of neutrality.
Puntland Government calls upon the U.S. State Department and the VOA Board of Governors to analyze and review the culture of biased reporting at the VOA Somali Section since 2009. Additionally, Puntland Government requests that VOA Somali Section be obligated to prepare and publish Daily Transcripts of news casts and programs in Somali and English languages, in order to better inform the U.S. Government and the taxpayers about the role of VOA Somali Section in efforts to restore peace in Somalia.
READ:TRANSCRIPT VOA Somali Section News