Africa SOLJA expressed concerns over suppression of media in Somaliland
Hargeisa : Somaliland journalists Association is condemning and expressing a grave concerns over the recent activities of Somaliland authorities shutting down media houses, detaining journalist and police hunting other journalists.
On September 3rd 2019, Somaliland regional court issued a letter of banning against HadhwanaagNews-one of the leading websites were the internet providers were ordered to block out. Several articles against the chairman of Somaliland central bank were published on corrupting public funds. The decision was made after several interrogations with Abdirazak Good and Abdikani Asporo who are both working for hadhwanaagNews. Where Abdikani Asporo was detained last night (10/9/2019. The police were hunting since the court decision though no court proceedings and no found guilty over the website before suspending.
On September 6th 2019, police raided to Horyaal Tv-an independent television and ordered all staff to stop operation and leave from offices without prior notice and court warranty. On day after, police detained TV owner Mohamed Osman Mire-SAYID, who is still in jail, the regional and appeal court rejected to release on bail requested by Somaliland journalists Association due to worsening of health conditions. Horyaal TV broadcasted a program on women jawing stimulant leaf Khat. Sources reveal police are hunting Horyaal editors and reporters who contributed the program to be detained as well.
In addition, there are ongoing restriction from Ministry of Information suppressing independent media channels. Somaliland journalists Association is condemning the recent 09 September 2019 minister’s statement ordering independent Televisions to separate Somaliland and Somalia news, referring Somalia news as international news. We believe that duty and any decision on news broadcasting assurances is the sole responsibility of television editors, where the Ministry of information cannot decide the prioritizing of news items and management systems or it’s identified as Censorships which is prohibited by Somaliland media law 27/2007.
Somaliland Journalists Association is calling the government to immediately release all detained journalists including Sayid the owner of Horyaal Tv, Abdikani Asporo as well as immediately restore the operation of Horyaal TV and HadhwanaagNews website or to bring them before court to the soonest possible period. If the freedom of press and independency of media agencies are not respected this will lead to possible rights violation and deny of access to independent news and information of citizens which will undermine the democratic practice that Somaliland citizens and media practitioners enjoyed over the past years.
Yahye Mohamed Abdi