UK-based journalist Jamal Osman was reportedly detained in Mogadishu on Sunday shortly after arriving at Aden Adde International Airport.
According to sources, the multi-award-winning journalist and filmmaker will be held overnight at the Decale hotel inside the airport before being deported on Monday.
It is unclear why Osman is being detained, but his reporting on Al Shabaab earlier this year may be the catalyst.
Channel 4 news released a segment in mid-June produced by Jamal Osman entitled ‘Inside Al- Shabaab’ whereby Osman was granted unprecedented access to Al Shabaab’s leaders and training facilities. Osman interviewed the group’s de-facto leader Mahad Karate, the subject of a $5 million US bounty and one of the world’s most wanted terrorists, in the middle of an Al Shabaab stronghold.
The program earned Jamal Osman a 2022 Rory Peck Award for Best News Feature but was also the subject of over 100 Ofcom complaints and several petitions calling for its removal.
The most common complaint was that Osman was humanizing the Al Qaeda-linked militant insurgency group by highlighting the positive aspects of living under their control.
In early October, the Somali government introduced a directive to media outlets that declared “all Al Shabaab related propaganda coverage including their terrorist acts and their ideology as punishable crimes.”
Somalia’s deputy information minister insisted the decision would not affect “normal” news coverage about Al-Shabab by journalists. Still, media rights groups have pointed to the arrest and detainment of Abdalle Ahmed Mumin, the Secretary-General of the Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS), as evidence of the government’s heavy-handed response to journalists. According to the SJS, Abdalle is out on bond but has been charged with inciting disobedience, disrespecting the state, and failing to obey authority commands.