Africa Somaliland: Solja Media Freedom Review in 2019
The Somaliland journalists association which is mandated fighting and advocating for media freedom documented and intervened the media violations in 2019. The organization have carried out restless advocacy to maintain press freedom according to the Somaliland local media laws and international media freedom principles. Once media violations are recorded and vetting process is complete through available wide hotline services the office of legal aid provides free legal aid services including free lawyers for court representation, court facilitation assistance and advocacy efforts both through meeting with concerned agencies and/or either official public statements,
During this year 2019 the Somaliland journalists association have recorded 31 journalists’ detentions and arrests, Journalists are mainly detained after they publish or broadcasts stories against government’s political decisions, corruption and conflict reporting issues.
The organization have also recorded 5 media outlet suspensions including Foore newspaper on February 2019 for one year and their editor fined with three million SLSH, although there have been contradicting decisions by regional and appeal courts over this case. Also, Hadhwanaagnews agency was blocked by the government in a later issued by the Hargeisa regional court and 3 reporters were detained. The journalists were released on bail. However, the chief editor and two reporters have fled to abroad and in Uganda after hold a statement on 19 November 2019 mentioned they’re not confident about the court process. In addition. Horyaal Television was also suspended and police raided their offices.
In this year, there have been identified police mistreatment against media and the unwarranted illegal arrests were common in Somaliland. Most media practitioners detained have been released after short period in jail before trail. Which is critical towards media independence and the ability to enjoy the right guaranteed by Somaliland media law 27/2004, which provides the rights of seeking, expressing and disseminating news and information independently through media types no matter newspapers, televisions and websites.