Ururka Qaran ee Suxufiyiinta Soomaaliyeed

 

National Union of Somali Journalists

 

Media Under Attack in Puntland:

Two 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


The directive, 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 said.

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 Security.

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 pre-condition.
"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

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Copyright: 2011