Somaliland:Universal TV at the Center of Controversy About Freedom of Speech

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By Abdirahman Mohamed Diriye

Kenan Malik, intellectual and writer on theories of human nature and meaning of race. He is also a passionate supporter of unfettered free speech. “What do you think if we’ve to censor every comment, every image somebody found offensive? He asked in the Dispatches Muslim Vs Free Speech, do Somalilanders need limitations on freedom of speech because certain public figure got upset or certain group sees satire an offensive?  Somaliland needs more free speech. Today the same scenario has been played out in Somaliland to suppress the freedom of speech for lame excuses.  Universal TVbroadcasted some sort of political hilarious satire about president Silanyo’s exact role in running in his government. The acting reporter asked his cartoon-looking president whether he is in charge of the state of the affairs in night shift or if his family members run the country throughout the night. The acting president’s answer was shocking “yes it is okay some members of my family can co-run the government”. The drama which satirized the president drawn mountain of anger from the spin doctor Mr. Ukuse— democracies have no ministry of information but press secretaries— the satire, however, suggested that Somaliland’s democracy—government for the people, of the people, and by the people according the definition of democracy founders— has tragically derailed and reduced to mere family enterprise. Is that true?

During the past couple of years of President Silanyo’s reign, there has been unprecedented crackdown on media: intimidation of journalists, shutdown of press, TV channels, blocking online newspapers that criticize the ruling family, and arbitrary arrests of media men and women. The government sent official police man to Hubaal Newspaper to silence the chief editor but luckily he survived with broken arm. Finally, his newspaper was closed down.

The government has been quite upset about every program aired by other than their mouthpiece TV, once national TV.

But the country needs more fun like this and nothing wrong with it, it was very entertaining to us but devastating to sycophants and to bootlicker-yes-men MPs and Ministers whose job turned to welcome real ministers that have say in everything from toilet repairing in Somaliland to Somalia’s reunification talks underway in Turkey. Universal TV has to make another caricature about ministers whose houses were incomplete in Hargaysa because the UK child benefits financing the construction of mansions were cut unexpectedly before completion, therefore; they decided to ask president’s “inner circle” to nominate them to suck the poor masses’ blood to death! Yesterday my uncle, minister of no-ministry who was in the restroom was dialed by Hirsi secretary to rush to the airport to warmly welcome Hirsi or lose his job! My uncle minister drove his car fast and hit passerby in Alamadda district near the Airport Rd. This will be the next episode of Universal TV hopefully.

In democracies rich like ours unlike Somalia’s religious totalitarianism, and Puntland’s tribal pirate tyranny, can talk about every public figure from president to lowest janitor to update the electorates and correct if the government is wrong.

It is true that President Ahmed Silanyo falsely fought for freedom of speech to get votes only and started to arrest journalists and close down media outlets to cover up his irregularities when he reached power. He knows the danger the media poses to his corrupt regime. Though ministers recruited either for they worked with one of the major financier KULMIYE, and proved their loyalty to Garadagism, set of tribal rules designed to wholesale loot the national resources of the country in the first five years in power, or for they were close, distant relatives of the First Family either side from the husband or the wife, don’t rat on the pledge to stuffing of their own pockets alone without caring the public concerns. The government can inflate some one’s belly but can’t not build water, it can build the road because it goes through, and connect certain isolated villages, but not build health centers for other villages where women deliver newborn babies in the open air and under trees without midwifes! That is not their task or the towns voted for UDUB, the Faqash Party.

Next episodes of Universal TVs will be on these subjects. Government’s protests, nonetheless, against funny program yet informative are not big deals.

I, on behalf of Somaliland freedom lovers congratulate Universal TV for their courage to satirize president who spies on law-abiding citizens rather than criminals who snitch phones and gold necklaces publicly in the high ways and sleeping opportunist cells of Al-Qaeda within the country who are waiting the security to weaken.

13 COMMENTS

  1. Hassan , we are not talking about freedom of speech here, when talk about Universal TV. This station is an enemy station , which is owned by an enemy country. We will let Universal TV to operate in Somaliland, when Israel allows all the pro-Nazi Tvs in their entity or when free airing time is given to Alqaida by the USA government. I think this is a very fair proposition.

  2. Freedom of expression is the lifeblood of democracy, the free flow of information and ideas of political debate and discussion. It is a safety valve; it acts as brake on the abuse of power by public officials; it facilitates the exposure of error in the governance and administration of national affairs of the country. And people are more ready to accept decisions that go against them if they can in principle seek to influence them.

    In a country where our daily newspapers are littered with corruption scandals and bad governance many would agree that media – tvs and magazines – deserve special attention and protection in order to disptthc their role of exposing the weaknesses of those in power, whoever he is.

    Politicians, I daresay inevitably and knowingly lay themselves open to close scrutiny when they assume public office and consequently display a greater degree of tolerance. Reacting and responding to every comment and comedy made by a crank and a critic does not make any sense.

    • Kuluc,

      If you love Universal TV this much and hate Somaliland government why not move to Mogadishu? I'm sure you will not be missed.

    • Hey!! KULUC Let me tell you that freedom of speech is one of the pillar of Democracy and transparency but this Universal TV it belong to Somalia and not The Republic of Somaliland and it does not have right to intermingle in our Political affairs and trying to have right to abuse our leaders the way they like this not fair
      after all it is a bias TV always it tries to under mine the Status of The Republic of Somaliland I hope our Beloved Country The Republic Of Somaliland Bans this notorious Universal TV for ever.

  3. I agree with Yususf Ali. This has nothing to do with freedom of ex[ression. There is free of expression. They have no freedom of expression in their country Muuq-disho. This people have never known freedom of expression. This a a lowly mafia TV. This a Moryaan TV, which is a mouth piece for the failed Walaweyn who could not even build or run a village for almost thirty years. This an enemy TV, owned by our most bitter enemies.

  4. Opposition leaders would opt the presence of Universal TV in Somaliland at any cost so it can be used as a mouthpiece. Keeping the government in charge on it's toes and being in bed with the our enemy # 1 are 2 different things altogether.

  5. There is a difference between free speech and hateful speech against an elected official and country. Universal TV didnt attack Silanyo on the facts but was full of ad hominems and also towards the people of Somaliland. It constantly says or acts as if Somaliland doesnt exist but wants access to our airways?

    If you believe we dont exist then please dot get your panties in a bunch when we ban you, Universal TV is like the Fox News of Somalia no one of significance paid any attention to it, and what little attention they are getting off of this is not warranted.

    Also dont even try to quote Kenan Malik bc he is more inline with what Somaliland preaches ie self determination, liberal laws etc than anything Somalia could hope to speak on…keep it movin

  6. If the Satire was by a Somaliland media (website, TV, newspaper, Op-ed etc) I would have no problem with it. What I do have a problem with is faqash media coming to my country acting as if they are the champions of free speech and treating my Somaliland as if it were a regional government of Somalia.

  7. Its not Satire! Dang Somalis dont understand squat satire hints at the truth with humor what Universal Tv did is an ad hominem attack on Somaliland and its elected president. Learn the difference

    Its like if Britian started distributing pamphlets attacking George Washington and the United States not on the facts but bc they didnt agree with the colonies telling them to take a flying fra ck off the cliffs of dover.

    See the difference? Universal Tv is just a mouth piece for walawayne propaganda its not satire in the least its a full face attack on our sovereignty

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