Nasteh Dahir Farah assassinated in Somalia

It is with great sadness that we at the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) have received the news of the death of a friend and partner, Nasteh Dahir Farah, Vice President of the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ).

On June 7, 2008, Nasteh Farah was gunned down in front of his home in Kismayo as his wife and infant son looked on. He died a short time later at a nearby hospital. At the time of his death Nasteh was working as a journalist for the BBC Somali Service and freelancing for Reuters.

In 2005, Nasteh was elected Vice President of NUSOJ, the culmination of many years of commitment to the profession and to the Union. He was known for his professional neutrality when reporting on the armed conflict, his detailed investigations into attacks on media freedom and his compassion for the families of fellow journalists killed during the course of their work.

There have been attacks on journalists and media houses in Somalia in recent years and most of these crimes remain unsolved. A culture of impunity has become the norm in these attacks on members of the media, making their profession one of the most dangerous in Somalia.

In April 2008, NUSOJ was presented with the Democracy Courage Award by the World Movement for Democracy at its recent summit in Kiev, Ukraine. There could be no better example of the courage and sacrifice of Somali journalists than Nasteh Dahir Farah. Nasteh will be missed but the loss of his presence further solidifies our resolve to support the work for which he gave his life, to end the culture of impunity and to strengthen the cause of press freedom in Somalia.