Under Attack in Puntland:
Independent television stations suspended, journalists denied
coverage of Parliamentary session
Mogadishu, November 1, 2011
The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) is greatly
disturbed by increasing violations against journalists in
Puntland following the suspension of two independent television
stations on Tuesday Nov. 1, 2011 and force removal of a television
reporters from the opening of the parliamentary session on
31 Oct. 2011 in the semi-autonomous regions of Puntland
which was issued on October 30, 2011 by the Puntland Ministry
of Information, Culture and Heritage and publicized today
on November 1, 2011 and was addressed to the two local television
stations, Puntland's ministry of Interior, the Intelligence
chief, Security Minister and DDR, regional commissioners and
copied to the Puntland president. The directive announced
an indefinite suspension of the work of the two television
stations; Somali Chanel and Universal stations.
"All the Puntland Institutions mentioned
above are notified that to date, October 30, 2011, the work
of the two television stations, Universal Television and Somali
Chanel has been suspended and that they can not act upon any
media related activities inside Puntland." The statement
In the statement, the Puntland Administration
has accused the two television stations in what it called
"Working with the peace haters who are always against
the Puntland security." While it the ministry notifies
again " the Security institutions in Puntland to follow
up and ensure the implementation of this decision that suspended
their work the two television stations stated above."
The order follows after the President of Puntland,
Abdirahman Mohamoud Farole on Monday 31 Oct. 2011 attacked
the media in his official opening address to the Puntland
parliament opening session, when he was taking about the Puntland
The president told the Puntland lawmakers that
there are some media stations in Puntland those are a voilating
the security, pointing his fingers to the Somali channel and
Universal Television. President Farole said that Somali Chanel
Television works with Al-Shabab and are paid by Al-Shabab
to spread their propaganda and Universal Television was reportedly
damaging the security of Puntland recently."
"We will not compromise our security to
anyone and any journalist seen as a threat to the security
will be arrested and his/her equipment will confiscated."
President Farole added.
Immediately after the presidential statement,
his aides and security personnel forced Somali Chanel reporters
out of the session and were refused to cover the session,
according to local journalists.
Puntland has already terrible press freedom
record in the past and the suspension of the two television
stations and the force removal of the Television reporters
out of the session only pressurizes the already concerned
journalists and media organizations subject to targeted assassinations,
threats, killings by unidentified armed groups only to report
whatever favors the Puntland administration.
"Puntland journalists have been doing well
and there are no faults allegedly done by the journalists,
but this suspension has been ordered by the Puntland President."
An official from the Puntland Administration, who spoke on
the condition of anonymity told NUSOJ. "We have to carry
out the presidential order." The official added
Ahmed Ali Farah, the director of the Somali
Chanel Television in Puntland said "We have done nothing
wrong and there are no wrongdoings we have done against the
Puntland administration, as far as I know." Adding that
"We don't know why we have been suspended from work or
denied the parliamentary coverage." Ahmed Ali Farah,
Director of Somali Chanel Television in Puntland said.
"We are deeply troubled by the suspension
of the Universal and Somali Chanel televisions and the denial
of access to information and call on the authorities in Puntland
to ensure that the Universal and Somali Chanel can resume
their operations and create an environment that journalists
can freely exercise their freedoms" the National Union
of Somali Journalists said, "We demand from the Puntland
Administration to verify its claims and stop intimidations
against the journalists."
Journalists have been increasingly under attack
in Puntland by freelance militias, assassins with at least
four cases of violations taking place in less than two months
and the Puntland administration is now suppressing the freedom
of the press using Security issues as pretext.
The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ)
demands from the Puntland administration to withdrew its decision
and allow the television stations to resume operation without
"We call upon the Puntland authorities to respect the
freedom of information and expression and allow journalists
to exercise these freedoms guaranteed under the Puntland constitution,
the Transitional Federal Charter and Universal Declaration
of Human Rights among others." NUSOJ added.
On Oct. 18, 2011, unknown gunmen tossed a hand
grenade from the back fence of
Radio Galkayo station and damaged back wall and windows
of the station's office. No human casualties were reported.
On September 14, 2011, Miss. Horriyo
Abdulkadir Sheik Ali, 20yrs, who was a news editor, producer
and presenter for Radio Galkayo in the town of Galkayo in
the autonomous state of Puntland, Somalia, was shot by unidentified
gunmen with 4 bullets upon her return from work at the Garsoor
neighborhood, a neighborhood controlled by the Puntland Administration.
She went under a surgery and is now recovering.
On September 22, 2011, two unidentified gun
men severely wounded Hassan
Mohamed Ali known as Hassan Antenna, the Editor for the
Voice of Peace Radio in the commercial port town of Bosaso,
at the tea shop next to the premises of the Radio Voice of
Peace in Bosaso, where the journalist was having tea, among
other people. He is currently at the
Union guest house in Mogadishu, where he is recovering.
"All these violations, along with others,
are taking place in an area controlled by the Puntland administration
and we demand from Puntland Authority probe into all these
violations and the unconditional resumption of the suspended
televisions as well." The Union said