Reporters Without Borders is very concerned about Baligubadle Online Mediaeditor Ahmed Adan Robleh and Universal TV director Mohamed Aabi, who were arrested in Hargeisa, the capital of the breakaway northwestern territory of Somaliland, on 27 July.
The two journalists, who are about to spend their fourth night in detention, are being detained illegally for the sole purpose of intimidating and gagging all of the region’s journalists, Reporters Without Borders said.
Robleh is being held for allegedly “spreading false information” about Somaliland President Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud Silanyo’s health. He was ordered to report to the Criminal Investigation Department the day before his arrest.
The police have not said why they are holding Aabi but some of his fellow journalists link his arrest to a programme recorded in Hargeisa that was broadcast by Universal TV, which has been banned in Somaliland since February.
“These two arrests unfortunately show that media personnel continue to be persecuted in Somaliland and that its president was just trying to ease his conscience when he pardoned two unjustly convicted journalists on 13 July,” said Reporters Without Borders assistant research director Virginie Dangles.
“If politicians are upset by certain media or articles, they must use the legal means of recourse they created. Jailing journalists and banning news mediaare never acceptable solutions. We urge Somaliland’s authorities to free Robleh and Aabi at once and to stop resorting to such acts of intimidation.”
Somalia is ranked 176th out of 180 countries in the 2014 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.