IFJ Condemns Censorship and Intimidation of Independent Press in Somaliland 6 March 201

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6 March 201press release

Authorities in Somaliland must re-open the offices of an independent newspaper in Hargeisa, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) said today.

According to IFJ affiliate, the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), the Hubaal newspaper in Hargeisa, Somaliland, has been closed since 13 December, 2013, following a raid by the police rapid reinforcement unit (RRU). Police continue to occupy the newspaper’s headquarters.

“We are deeply disturbed by the actions of Somaliland authorities to shut down Hubaal newspaper and forcefully occupy its offices,” said Gabriel Baglo, IFJ Africa Director. “Authorities in Hargeisa should halt their on-going crackdown on Hubaal and allow it to operate without fear of reprisal”.

Somaliland police have accused Hubaal newspaper of dividing the police leadership and misleading security officials, while also claiming that they obtained a court order to close the paper down, although the NUSOJ says they failed to produce this order during the raid.

“The continued closure of Hubaal and presence of police in their offices is nothing but censorship and an attempt to intimidate other media from being critical,” said NUSOJ Secretary General Omar Faruk Osman. “Somaliland should withdraw all its forces immediately. Hubaal newspaper and its journalists are exercising their journalistic duty and the authorities must not target them because of their media work.”

Harassment of Hubaal newspaper and its journalists has increased since April 2013 as the newspaper has been covering critical issues. On 11 June 2013, a Somaliland regional court in Hargeisa banned the publishing and distribution of the paper.

On 3 July, Hubaal editor Hassan Hussein Keefkeef was sentenced to two years in jail, while the paper’s manager Mohamed Ahmed Jama Aloley received a one-year sentence. Both men were also ordered to pay a 2,000,000-shilling ($350) fine each, Marodi Jeh Regional Court Judge Osman Ibrahim Dahir told the media.

The two journalists were found guilty of reporting “false news”, “slandering top Somaliland officials”, and “falsely accusing employees of the Ethiopian consulate of smuggling alcohol into Hargeisa”. The President of Somaliland later pardoned both journalists and the newspaper was allowed to resume its operations.

On 24 April 2013, two gunmen attacked the headquarters of the newspaper, injuring managing director Mohamed Ahmed Jama. The two gunmen are believed to be Somaliland police, and one of the policemen was caught by the Hubaal staffers and was later released by Somaliland authorities.

“Clearly this is systematic campaign to censor and intimidate an independent newspaper in Somaliland. Hubaal is a victim of its reporting about what is really happening in Somaliland,” added Baglo.

The IFJ urges Somaliland to ensure that independent media outlets are not harassed, and to allow Somaliland journalists to practice their profession without fear of retaliation.

For more information, please contact: +221 33 867 95 86/87

The IFJ represents more than 600.000 journalists in 134 countries

 

6 COMMENTS

  1. Critics see this kind of action as dictatorial, moderates term this as evidence of demagoguery. The line between being dictatorial and demagogic is often a thin one. Failing administrations always resort to censorship and things like that when all other political strategies fail. When they ran out of potent ideas and only scandals are left to defend. What this accounts to is darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do.

  2. If you're publishing truth with proof then that is fine, but publishing lies and being the equivalent of Fox News in Somaliland and I think you deserve to be banned or locked up for the good of the public.

    Slandering peoples good names for clan based hate, spreading misinformation only helps our enemies, can they find no other way to power? How about you actually provide a living to Somalilands population perhaps then your ilk would win an election….food for thought

    • Clan hate is resorted to when all other strategies fail. When nothing else is left to defend. Before you blame others for clan hate, keep your every thought free of delusions.

  3. every country is doing what is good for her nation and Somaliland is not different, this so called journalist are brain washing to thinking that there is real democracy in the west when in fact the worlds oldest "Democracy" is hosting in London a warlord Hussein Aided who is responsible for the many of bloodiest wars in Somalia https://twitter.com/m0farah

  4. IFJ can go hang. It does not recognise the Somaliland Journalists Union instead recognising the Somalia one. More importantly it does not know the reality ion the ground. Somaliland's 'Journalists' are insult to Journalism. These often untrained and ill-equipped hacks have no knowledge of the basisc of journalism: evidence based reporting, right to reply, corroboration or objectivity. They do not know the diofference between opinion and news. They are all clan mouthpieces. every website(bar this one) and newspaper is clan-based. These so-called charcaters have no idea that rumour is not fact and never ask where/when/who/what/how. They publ;ish anything and everything that comes to their khat-stunted little minds. Actually many of these rags are a threat to national existence and should be shut -down.

  5. Silanyo's weak administration is also at fault. It has a radio station, a website and a newspaper each more dire than the other. They also utterly failed to enforce training of journalist introduce on bill on libel or enforce compulsory deposit againstm libelous behaviour.

    When the morons write baseless stuff like Silanyo being corupt((he is weak but virtually uncorruptable), they should just ignore them. Instead they go mad and arrest these idiots thus bestowing on them dignity of journalsim they do not deserve.

    They are as worse as each other

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