Journalists arrested in Somaliland, Television License suspended
Mogadishu, January 15, 2012
The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) condemns in
the strongest terms possible the unrelenting violations against
the journalists and the media by the Somaliland authorities
in which they had arrested 21 journalists were jailed on Sunday
15 January, 2012, in a string of arrests and media raids in
the past week suffered by the Somaliland journalists, making
the total journalists held without charges to 24.
With the increased detentions and attacks against the media
in the past week against the journalists and the episode in
police raided and shut down the offices of the Horn Cable
Television, ordering the media staff and the journalists to
leave the offices on Saturday 14 January, 2012 in Hargeysa forced
the journalists without reserve to show their concerns through
a protest in front of the presidential palace in Hargeysa on
Sunday morning 15 January, 2012.
However, the media fraternity was not expecting the urgent
frightening answer, though unaware their call for media freedom
and protection could soon turn its worse.
Soon the police sealed the area around 10:00am local time
and started arrests along with beating up journalists until
some of them poured blood from their mouths. It is a tragedy
facing the Somali Journalists on the eve of 2012 and all these
acts along others are meant to suppress the freedom of Expression.
A female journalist, Nimca Abshir who was among 21 journalists
jailed today said that, "When we were caught by the police
this morning, we had been beaten and a fellow journalist had
been seriously beaten until blood comes out from his mouth.".
All journalists are in custody.
Somaliland authorities accused Horn Cable Television for covering
a conference which was held at Taleeh in Sool region last week
which its delegates announced a new regional administration
independent from Somaliland, according to Somaliland Interior
Minister, Mohamed Nor.
Somaliland Interior minister, Mohamed Nor Dur who held a media
conference after the mass arrests of the journalists said that
"it was a mistake to protest in front of the presidential
palace, declaring that their authority had suspended the license
of the Horn Cable Television.
However, Secretary General of Somaliland Journalists Association,
Mohamed Rashiid condemned the government's move and observed
the most serious violations in the history of Somaliland journalists.
He also reiterated that these acts are apparent attack meant
to suppress the freedom of expression and the press.
"We have requested if not all of them, to release the
female journalists with bail, but our request has been turned
down." Mohamed Rashiid, SOLJA Secretary General told NUSOJ
by phone on Sunday evening.
The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) condemns the
systematic move aimed at blocking the media freedom and intimidations
against journalists and the undue pressure by the Somaliland
"We appeal to Somaliland authorities to release all journalists
still held in custody or bring them before fair court immediately
and allow the Horn Cable Television resume its operation."
Mohamed Ibrahim, NUSOJ Secretary General said, " Jailing
humans without charges is a direct violation to the fundamental
principles of human rights and call for all concerned organizations/governments
to intervene the matter urgently."
"Somaliland must stop this systemic move it is trying
to silence the media and allow journalists to report freely
without fear of reprisals." Mr. Ibrahim added.
NUSOJ supports Somaliland journalists for courageously demanding
the media freedom, safety and protection from their authorities
as guaranteed in the Somaliland constitution and denounce the
latest string of attacks which 21 journalists were arrested
and beaten up, some seriously.
Last week, Seven cases of arrests took place in the towns of
Laas-Aanood and Boorama. Three are still in custody without
charges making the total journalists in custody to 24.