Beleaguered Somaliland Government seems intent on gagging the media
HARGEISA — Somaliland Journalists Association (SOLJA) condemned the arrests of Royal TV reporter by the name of Mr Yusuf Ali Indho-Quruh by Somaliland security forces in Borama, the regional capital of Awdal. According to an emergency meeting that the executive members held last night in Hargeisa said that the apprehension of the reporter is yet another human rights violation intended to gag and silence Somaliland’s free press.
SOLJA condemned the manner in which the arrest took place and called for the immediate release of the journalist. SOLJA’s general secretary Mr Mohamed Rashiid Farah spoke to the press after the meeting came to an end and said that this growing arrest and continuing harassment as well as intimidations against
Somaliland journalists increased with alarming rate. He added that they are worried about the situation that many practicing journalists are faced with daily threats and intimidation for doing their legitimate work. He said that SOLJA demands the immediate release of the reporter and also disclosed that he was detained in the course of carrying out his duty. Mr Mohamed said there has been a marked deterioration in press freedom under the current administration, something that has been well documented both locally and by various human rights groups in London, Paris and New York. Mr Mohamed Rashid said that harassment has become almost routine. He gave the example of Somaliland security forces apprehending another reporter by the name of Mr Abdiqani Hasan Gadari who works for privately owned Universal TV.
According to reports received from Las Anod, Sool’s provincial capital the reporter was detained by police after thereporter was summoned by the Governor of Sool Mr Jeeniyare to his office and once he arrived, the Governor ordered his on duty body guards to put him behind bars and now is in custody at police station in Las Anod. Reports further add that the reporter was previously detained by Somaliland Information minister. The reporter managed to make contact with some reporters while in custody and said that he was arrested by the Governor who accusing him of daring to broadcast a story about Las Anod. He also said that he was tricked by the governor telling him to come to his office in order to talk to him about something and once he arrived, he was apprehended.
In recent months issues of corruption and misuse of public office and public funds have raised legitimate questions. The Government of Somaliland states it is in favour of a free press, but there is growing concern that officials in Somaliland are using the security forces and the Law to suppress a responsible press and if such moves continue there is a real danger that Somaliland will begin to echo the oppression seen in Eritrea and Ethiopia.
Tuesday, January 10, 2012