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Published On: Wed, Feb 5th, 2014

Somaliland Authorities Ban International Broadcaster

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Nairobi, February 5, 2014Authorities from the semi-autonomous republic of Somaliland on Monday indefinitely banned the U.K.-based private broadcaster Universal TV in connection with its critical coverage of the president, local journalists told CPJ. The station has complied with the directive and is not broadcasting in Somaliland, according to news reports.

Local journalists told CPJ the ban stemmed from a political satire program on Saturday called “Faaliyaha Qaranka” that aired a satirical interview with an actor playing the role of President Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud. The actor portrayed the president as a forgetful, elderly figure who gave family members access to administrative posts.

Somaliland Information Minister Abdullahi Mohamed held a news conference on Monday in which he announced the broadcaster’s operating license would be revoked for airing “cheap propaganda” and insulting the president, according to local journalists and news reports. He also said the station had violated the ethics of journalism, the reports said.

Ahmed Abukar, owner of Universal TV, denied that the station had done anything against Somaliland or violated media ethics, and said the order was illegal, reports said. Under local law, an operating license can be revoked only by the General Prosecutor’s office, local journalists said.The station’s management said it would try to negotiate with authorities to get the ban lifted, according to reports.

Abdullahi told reporters that the government would file an official complaint against the owners of Universal TV with Somaliland courts “in accordance with international laws,” but did not cite the laws, local journalists said.

“If Somaliland authorities believe a news outlet is airing defamatory content, they should use the appropriate legal channels to seek redress instead of silencing the broadcaster,” said CPJ East Africa Representative Tom Rhodes. “We condemn this act of censorship and call on authorities to allow Universal TV to resume broadcasting immediately.”

Authorities have routinely targeted Universal TV in the past, accusing the station of supporting opposition politicians. Authorities temporarily banned Universal TV in October 2010, according to reports.

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CPJ is an independent, nonprofit organization that works to safeguard press freedom worldwide.

Contact:

Sue Valentine
Africa Program Coordinator
svalentine@cpj.org

Mohamed Keita
Africa Advocacy Coordinator
Tel. +1.212.465.1004 ext. 117
Email: mkeita@cpj.org

Tom Rhodes
East Africa Consultant
Email: trhodes@cpj.org

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Displaying 16 Comments
Have Your Say
  1. Abdi says:

    Over caricature or over cartoon depiction of a leader??? SL lost their claim to fame democracy into full idiocracy!

  2. Gelle says:

    This so-called news or Universal tv is nothing but a tabloid, that is finance from Mogadishu, to destabilize Somaliland.I am glade the government of Somaliland shut its door.
    For those who were complaining about Somaliland government abuse of media, please, go and tell that to Gelle of Djibouti,Haile Mariam of Ethiopia and Musavini of Uganda.
    Media in Somaliland is free compare those above mentioned Countries but Somaliland will not tolerate the media group that purposely want to create crisis within Somaliland society.

  3. darwiish#1 says:

    i know when i see how police state looks like & smells . good example is north korea and is one man show whether you like it or not. is there any difference experience nowadays in hargeisa. no same ears,eyes and nose are copy cat. my wrong hargeisa is two man show.

  4. Omer Hussein Dualeh says:

    All Wanlaweyn Televisions should not be allowed in Somaliland. We shall further deport all Somalis from Somalia Until we achieve this goal, we shall not claim that we are sovereign state. Stop the word Walaalahayo and fight for our existence.

  5. Don says:

    Universal TV shouldn't be allowed to operate in Somaliland ever and Somaliland government must file a court case against it in Hargiesa and in the UK, because it supports Al-shabaab terrorists . All international funding for Universal TV must be dried-out and its owner brought to justice.

  6. concerned Somali says:

    What do you expect of a Khat addict of a wanna be government. this is another good reason why no country should never recognize the tribal enclaves of dusty cities.

  7. Leyla says:

    International Broadcaster? looooooool

  8. Leyla says:

    These so called people from Somalia keep denying SOMALILAND's existing and nationhood yet they want to be in it looooool isn't that funny?

  9. M. Khalid says:

    The program "Faliyaha Qaranka" in English " Commenting on the Nation" aired by Universal TV to criticize President Ahmed Mahamoud Silanyo was meant to vilify the president and his government and suggest indirectly that Somaliland is part of Somalia. Somaliland is not a member of the "Qaran" they are hinting in their satirical comment. If Universal TV is eager to operate in Somaliland, they should first recognize the latter by signing an agreement with the Information Ministry that they are working in a sovereign entity called Somaliland which is separate from Somalia. In this way, they are under the jurisdiction of Somaliland.

    • Patriotic says:

      I always dought the Universal TV that it really accept the identity of The Republic Of Somaliland the answer is NO This TV when it comes to any activity regarding The Republic Of Somaliland it act on low profile but any activity of Federal Government of Somalia it respond positively and this shows clearly this Television belong to Somalia so this shows that when it does its media activity In The Republic of Somaliland automatically is a Foreign Media and it should respect The Law and the rule of The Republic of Somaliland
      and if it has been ban it should not be allowed to come back for ever to our Beloved Country , GOD Bless The Republic of Somaliland.

  10. Mohamd says:

    They called SL "Authorities" and yet claiming to be respectable organisation. These ppl are all criminals supporting other criminals.

  11. Mohamd says:

    If I had my way, I would have slapped an arrest warrant for the people behind the station to bring these immoral people to justice. But Somalis son't like justice, they just like to bicker like women and runaway from owning up to responsibilities.

  12. Budhle says:

    To all Somalilanders i do not understand why we are debating this tv station again and again this Universal belongs to Somalia and should stay there.

  13. kilo says:

    this tribal channel has been banned from several countries such as Djibouti because it actively supports terrorists and promotes tribalism

  14. Abdulkerim musse says:

    in la xiro Universal Tv waa mid asaga uu kasbaday uuna ka diyaariyo barmamijo fool xun siyaasiinta sare gaar ahaan madaxda kala duwan e somalia isagoo ka anba qaadaayo barmajijada wadamada hor maray ay sameyaan . lkn in kastoo ay taa dhacday ma ahayn Tv-ga Somalida ugu afka dheer marka loo eega xaga macluumaad ka in si dhaqso ah hal go aan kaliya lagu xiro taa oo keeneysa in isku xirnaan wayn laga waayo gees ka afrika.

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