Somaliland:Human Rights Centre condemns the blockage of Hadhwanaagnews website

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On 24th November 2017, Hadhwanaagnews website was blocked on the order of Hargeisa Regional Court, according to the management of the website and court officials. The website has been inaccessible to the users of the local internet providers.

The court issued its order without informing the management of the website the contents of allegations. The management of the website learnt the blockage after customers informed them that they could not access the website, Abdirisak Good, the Director of Hadhwanaagnews told Human Rights Centre (HRC).

 A court official told HRC that there is a case filled by the police against Hadhwanaagnews. The case is related to news articles published by the website after the 13th November presidential election. The articles were allegedly critical to the way the election was handled.

On 13th November 2017 Somaliland held a presidential election won by the ruling party candidate, Muse Behi Abdi.

Blocking of online media is increasing. On July this year five websites were blocked by a court in Hargeisa on the basis that they were “disseminating false news against the clans that live together in the Republic of Somaliland {and} propaganda against the officials of the State of the Republic of Somaliland.” The social media were also blocked on the Election Day, 13th November, until 17th November on the order of the National Electoral Commission. The Commission said the shutdown was necessary to avoid rumours and spread of fake news

“The blockage of Hadhwanaagnews is unacceptable and is threat to the freedom of media. We condemn the attempts aimed to control the independent media coverage,” says Guleid Ahmed Jama, the chairperson of Human Rights Centre.

Somaliland constitution upholds freedom of press and prohibits any act that subjugates the media, as stipulated in article 32 of Somaliland constitution.

Human Rights Center calls on the government of Somaliland to lift the blockage from Hadhwanaagnews website.

For further information, please contact
Guleid Ahmed Jama
Chairperson
Human Rights Center
Hargeisa Somaliland
www.hrcsomaliland.org
chair@hrcsomaliland.org

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