Somaliland Media Freedom Status in 2018-Press release

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Press release: Somaliland Media Freedom Status in 2018

Hargiesa:on 10th December, 2018.Somaliland Journalists Association-SOLJA released press-statement of Somaliland Media Freedom Status in 2018-Horndiplomat reports

Press-Release

The Somaliland Journalists Association-SOLJA believes the media had an integralrole on Somaliland progress and its primary duty and responsibility is toinform, educate and reflect public opinion, not just the machinations of poweror clan politics nor propagating government policies.
The media encountered unwarranted and illegal detentions more often from governmentofficials and the police although the Somaliland constitution and the Media lawboth firmly guaranteed the journalists rights on both access to information andindependent expression or dissemination  through their various mediums including TVs,newspapers and online platforms.
 However, as indicated by theSomaliland journalists Association 2018 annual records there are potentialrestriction of freedom of both media practitioners and media agencies asincidents against journalism happened across the six regions of Somaliland.Statistically, there have been 21 individual detentions and arrests across allregions in 2018. Although Hargeis- the capital city where the majority numberof journalists operating hosts the highest arrests compromising of 37% ofoverall cases.
However, the journalists in the Borderline region of SOOL facednotable violations against their journalists work due to the recurrentdisturbances and ethnic conflict reporting within the region and the Tukaraqconflicts reporting that left the detention of 7 local journalists who havespread news compromising 33% of total detentions occurred in Las’anod.
Similarly, there have been other media violations, detentions and arrested who have arisenrest of regions and most of them are managed before they appear in the courtexcept two journalists AhmedCiiltire and Mahamed Dabshid from SBC and kalsan TV. The Regional court ofAwdal charged them two years after found guilty of publishing a news sayingEthiopian Army is trained inside Borama. These two journalists were freed after12 days in prison once compensation is paid.
On the otherhand, in this year there were attempts against media agencies closure in whichgovernment carried out. SOLJA sees as a resistance and halting access toinformation for public to receive concerned issues from independent sources.These are the tentative acts against media agencies operation.
First, on 19June 2018, the Court officially banned the operation of Waaberi newspaper afterthe Attorney general office filed a case against the validity of registrationcertificates, On 29 May 2018, the Somaliland Ministry of information officiallybanned Somnews & SBS TV from operation inside Somaliland though it wasrevoked in 11 June 2018 in an official ministerial decree alleged broadcastingof a false reporting propaganda against Somaliland in recent conflict betweenSomaliland and Puntland-state region of Somalia in Tukaraq. Most recently, theunnecessary frequent interrogations towards media owners in the independentmedia for instances Foore Newspaper, Saab TV and Star TV.
Specifically, theCriminal investigation Department interviewed the Chairman of independent FooreNewspaper more than 10 times. This seems an intentional act of silencingjournalists to carry out their work without fear and occasioning ofdisappointment on journalist’s investigation and accountability measuresagainst government.
In a nutshell, on this international day of Human rights on 10th December, the Somaliland journalists association calls for all media stakeholders mainly the government of Somaliland to end violations and any meaning of restrictions against media both intentionally and unintentional. Also, SOLJA forges the respecting and practice of all laws guarantee the freedom of expression, right to receive and disseminate information including the SL constitutional, national media laws and international human rights laws.

Yahye Mohamed Abdi-Xanas
SOLJA-Executive Director

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