Published On: Mon, Jan 2nd, 2012

2011 – A worrying year for press freedom in Somaliland

Somaliland: The report of the media abuses in 2011

The Somaliland Journalist Association (SOLJA) has filed over a dozen media abuses by the Government forces and about four cases that the Government filed against the media in the local courts.

This is a review of the events in 2011:

10th December 2011: The Police of Borama town arrested Borama Correspondent of Waaheen Newspaper Ali Ismail Aare and spent 3 days in prison without charge.

27th October 2011: Somaliland Police has beat Mohamed Abdi Kahin known as Bosh, who works for Ramaasnews website and Royal TV, after he took photos to some mothers complaining from the Government.

19th September 2011: police in Hargeisa’s local government beat Mustafe Sheikh Omar Geidi, the Chief Editor of Saxafi Newspaper, after he took photographs of poor people being forcibly removed their settlement.

12th September 2011: Togdher Regional Court released Ahmed Muse Mohamed, of Waaheen Newspaper Togdher,  after he spent 7 days in prison without charge.

10th September 2011: the Somaliland’s Special Protection Unit (known as Birmadka) beat and detained Saleban Abdi Ali, a reporter from Waaheen Independent Newspaper while he was covering the power transfer in the Ministry of Interior. Saleban spent ten hours in prison and he was released after the intervention of SOLJA.

7th September 2011: Somaliland’s Ministry of Finance filed a case against Waaheen Newspaper.

5th September 2011: Awdal regional police arrested Ali Ismail Aare, Waaheen Newspaper’s Awdal region correspondent, after he published an article damning  the local government of Borama.

22nd August 2011: the Government filed a case against Horn Cable TV in Hargeisa’s regional Court, accusing of interviewing one of the local traditional leaders named Osman Burmadaw, whom the Government regards as a national threat.

15th July 2011: Police in Hargeisa have seriously assaulted and detained Abdi Nuurow Aboore, a cameraman for Horn Cable TV, (Private satellite TV based in Hargeisa) while he was filming an event taking place in Hargeisa.

22nd March 2011: Las Anod Police arrested Mohamed Osman Abdi of Somali Channel Satellite TV Correspondent in Las Anod while he was in his duty.

28th February 2011: The former Chief Judge of Somaliland’s Supreme Court, Mohamed Hirsi Omane, ordered the arrest of Mohamoud Ali Sheikh Mohamed a journalist from Ogal Newspaper when he tried to investigate a complaint against him by locals. The Judge responded by harassing and ordering the arrest of the journalist.

22nd January 2011: Hargeisa Regional Court handed down 6 years imprisonment term to Waaheen Newsaper journalist Mohamoud Abdi Jama and fined him $900.

On 19th September 2011: About 39 journalists working for the government’s Ministry of Information lost their jobs, whilst a further 46 journalists who won the ministry’s examination test have are yet to be paid.

The cases against the Newspapers (printed edition)

December 2010 – January 2011: The former Police Commissioner Elmi Roble Fure and Former Chairman of Hargeisa’s Electricity Agency Eng. Sab’e filed a case against Waaheen, claiming that the Newspaper has falsified a statement issued by the Commissioner about an event of tribal Conflict in Elberdale Farmland, which created insecurity in the areas, while Eng. Saba’e denied accusations of corruption by the paper.

On January 2011: former Chief of Cabinet  Hirsi H. Ali filed a case against Hargeisa Star, after the newspaper published a story about the Minister’s mismanagement of travelling fund for the President to UK. The former chief editor of Hargeisa Star, Hassan Mohamed Yusuf was taken into the Criminal Investigation Department on December 2011, where he spent several hours. But was released after the Minister dropped the case.

Early January 2011: The Minister for Civil Aviation Mohamoud Hashi Abdi filed a case against Saxafi Newspaper after it said the minister mismanaged a Kuwaiti donation for the airports. However the Hargeisa Regional Appeal Court found against the newspaper and ordered the former, Abdifatah M. Aidid to pay $700 within 10 days or face imprisonment.

Also cases were filed against the newspapers of Ogaal and Yool. Even though the cases against these two newspapers were not heard before the court, but the chief editor of Yool Newspaper, Mohamed Abdi Urad was called to appear before the Criminal Investigation Department, but the case was dropped.

Due to the above mentioned cases against the independent media of Somaliland, the Somaliland’s Journalist Association SOLJA condemns the harassment, detention and physical agitation against the reporters by the government forces. SOLJA is urging the government of Somaliland to respect the constitutional rights of the independent media and stop these actions against the independent media.
Various human rights organisations have also voiced their concerns:

Harassment and attacks on journalists in Puntland and Somaliland

Somaliland editor sentenced to 3 years in prison

Somalilandpress

  • Yusuf

    I see no problem in taking Journalists to court if they defame people as long as they get fair trials. The Somaliland police are poorly trained and they commit individual acts of beatings. Although I would like to see the number of journalist beatings come down to zero, but let us admit it is still very low in comparison to the rest of the world, including the developed countries. I am also amazed that Somaliland with its meagre financial capabilities has come this far. Let us also not forget if a journalist is pushed away while taking pictures, it is considered a beating and act of violence in Somaliland. Compare this to what happens everywhere else in the world. We do not see bleeding journalist that are being rushed to hospitals in Somaliland, yet Somaliland journalist association has been criticized by neighbouring Somalia journalist association for not exaggerating violence committed against Somaliland journalists. This is really interesting, because Somalia never stops trying to throw dirt on Somaliland in any way they can. They simply want Somaliland to become another Somalia.

  • Kayse

    So much for an administration that promised media freedom. Kulmiye is far worse than Udub in this field.

  • PuntlandGeezer

    ther was never a freedom of press in the so called somaliland anywaiz
    look at somalilandpress, they delete comments just to suit their wonderful page.

  • yaasiin

    freedom of press is so important to our wonderful nation of somaliland. i would advice kulmiye government should understand that.

  • Abraham

    I see the work of a dictatorship in the above report. Very sad.

    • Tahlil Sulub

      Somaliland press is the worst enemy of the media and the freedom of speech.

  • HMObsiye

    If they think Somaliland government abuses the media, then tell them to move to either, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Eritrea and see how media mistreatment look like.

    Please, thank Allah for what we have, It can be worse.

  • Tahlil Sulub

    Nowadays corruption is common practice in Kulmiye regime see the article on Qaran news, the e-mails from and to Foreign A. Minister. Media to like Somaliland press is corrupted, no standard, ethics and they are pro-kulmiye regime. They are not sincere and straightforward.

    • Naliye

      you read Qaran news, surely you do that for pure entertainment, if not then good be with you :D

  • Burco Philosopher

    People need to distinguish Kulyme administration and the police force in Somaliland..The Somaliland police chief and the small local governments in these regions should take up the responsibilities of these allegations not the Kulmye administration..People in Somali regions love to point fingers at central governments and not local governors..This was the problem of Somalia, we put to much duty on the central government and this is how tranny and dictatorships begin..take a course in history, Small government always prevails over big government..

  • Ali907

    Any newspaper or journalist who spreads hate among the people of this nation should be locked up and send to Mandheera without any trail. End off.

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