Washington, D.C., November 20, 2009 – The Voice of America (VOA) condemns the November 17, 2009 shooting of Mohamed Yasin Ishaq, a VOA stringer for the Somali Service, in Galkayo, a city in Somalia's northeast semi-autonomous Puntland region.
VOA Director Danforth W. Austin said the apparently intentional shooting of Ishaq by a police officer is unacceptable. He said VOA (www.VOANews.com) joins the Committee to Protect Journalists and Reporters Without Borders, two non-governmental organizations that support press freedom, in calling for a thorough and transparent investigation of the incident.
Steven J. Simmons of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (www.bbg.gov), which oversees U.S. international broadcasting including the VOA, said, "We wholeheartedly condemn this inhumane act."
Police opened fire on Ishaq's car about 8 p.m. at a police checkpoint. Ishaq was injured in the chest. He is in good condition after his release from the hospital. Two passengers in Ishaq's car were not injured.
The shooting came the day Ishaq and other journalists met to discuss tensions between the media and local police. The local police chief joined the meeting.
The incident is the most recent in strained relations between Puntland authorities and VOA. In August, Ishaq was briefly detained following a series of stories he filed on assassinations in Puntland.
In September, Puntland authorities suspended the right of all three VOA stringers in Puntland to report. They also ordered local FM affiliate stations to stop rebroadcasting VOA. Both those actions were reversed in October.
VOA calls on authorities in Puntland to allow VOA stringers to carry out their professional responsibilities, providing accurate, fact-based, comprehensive news and information to the people.
The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. Government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts more than 1,500 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 125 million people. Programs are produced in 45 languages. VOA is the leading U.S. international broadcaster.
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