By Goth Mohamed Goth
Officers attached to Somaliland Criminal Investigation Department on Sunday morning arrested and detained two journalists at a local hotel in Hargeisa.
The CID officers headed by the officer in charge of Maroodi Jeh region Criminal Investigation Department stormed the xaraf hotel at 10:00 Am on Sunday looking for a journalist who was involved in a fight with one of the officers but instead arrested and detained two innocent journalists without warrant as required by the law.
Mr. Mahmoud Abdi Jama” Xuuto”, the chairman of Somaliland Journalist Association (SOLJA) speaking during a press conference said, “The journalists Mr. Abdi Hassan Abdi of Bulsho TV and Mr. Abdirashid Sh. Abdiwahab Sh. Ibrahim, the chief editor of Foore Newspaper were arbitrarily arrested and detained by officers attached to Somaliland Criminal Investigation Department and were unlawfully held incognito at one their safe houses.
“Somaliland authorities continually harass journalists on a daily basis,” said Mr. Xuuto. “Just a few days ago three journalists in Sahil were arrested on grounds of criminal defamation, apparently at the behest of the Mayor of Berbera. While pardons and releases have followed, such actions have a chilling effect on the proper functioning of the media and are likely to lead to ineffective coverage and self-censorship.
“Media freedom is relevant to the overall image of the country, as it reflects on Somaliland internationally, and but also ensuring a free media is the responsibility of the entire government,” Mr. Mahmoud Abdi Jama “Xuuto”, further reminded.
Lastly, Mr. Xuuto stated “We call on the government to unconditionally release both journalists immediately.” Such events constitute a major breach of the freedom of the press, explicitly protected by law in Somaliland.