Heavy censorship, Intimidation, arbitrary arrests and draconian orders threatens media freedoms in Puntland and central Somalia regions

The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) condemns the acts of oppression, media censorship, intimidations, arbitrary arrests aimed at silencing the independent media by the semiautonomous administration of Puntland and Ahlu Sunna Waljama in Guriel’s central Somalia and calls for both administrations to unconditionally withdrew such cruel approaches that undermines media freedoms and release the detained journalists and allow radio station to resume operations.

On Saturday morning members of the police in Garowe raided the offices of radio Daljir, privately owned independent radio station that operates in Puntland regions, and detained Abdirahman Gardi, director and Jamal Farah Aden, senior producer for unspecified reasons, according to a statement released by Media Association for Puntland (MAP), NUSOJ’s regional affiliate. The arrest was ordered by the ministry of Security in the Puntland Federal administration, but did not further specify reasons behind the arrest.

Journalists believe that the two journalists were arrested following a radio talk show that the station aired on Friday evening May 22, 2015, which criticized the Puntland president’s poor performance.

In a separate incident, the Ahlu Sunna administration in the town of Guriel in Central Somalia detained Osman Mohamed Adan, correspondent of the Somali National Television (SNTV) based in Guriel, on Tuesday 19 May, 2015 for 24 Hours, then released on bail on the next day Wednesday 20 May, 2015 and ordered his immediate deportation. Mr. Adan safely arrived in Mogadishu on Friday.

The arrest and the deports comes amid the administration in town of Guriel imposed draconian orders to the media and the journalists, which reads 1) The media should stop reporting with immediate effects all news and information related to the conference going on in the town of Adado in Galgadud region aimed at the formation of the regional administration of Galgaduud and Mudug. 2) To stop reporting all information and news related to the Federal Government of Somalia, 3) To stop the relay broadcast of the government run radio Mogadishu, 4) To report all information and news related to ahlu Sunna Waljama.

The Director of Radio Galgaduud, Abdifatah Hersi Farah, who spoke with NUSOJ said that, “We can not accept such rules and are contrary to our editorial policy and the media freedoms large.”

“We will not compromise our independence,” Mr. Hersi added.

The administration briefly the deputy director of radio Galgadud, a privately owned independent station, on 17 May, 2015 for 12 Hours and completely ordered the shutdown of the radio station on the next day 18 May, 2015 for not complying their orders. Radio Galgaduud remains closed.

The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) is appalled by the new tactics that not only undermines the media freedoms, but also obstructs the public’s right to know, which is a direct violation to the federal constitution, the regional and the international treaties on freedom of expression, which Somalia is a member of. NUSOJ condemns these cruel acts and calls for the both administration to free all detained journalists and allow the radio Galgaduud to resume operations.

“We condemn these blatant attempts aimed at silencing the media freedoms including arrests, intimidations and radio closures.”Mohamed Ibrahim, NUSOJ Secretary General said, “We demand the unconditional release of our Daljir radio colleagues in Garowe and resumption of Radio Galgaduud in Guriel.”

“Puntland and Ahlu sunna administration should respect the media freedoms and stop these cruel polices oppressing the media and allow the media and the journalists to exercise their granted freedoms without of fear of reprisals” Mr. Ibrahim added.

In Puntland, last Wednesday 20th May 2015, the Somali National Television station (SNTV) office in Puntland port city of Bosaso was briefly shutdown and detained its reporters in the town. The journalist was later freed and ban against TV lifted.

On 21st May 2015, Puntland administration has ordered the arrest warrant of Jama Deperani, a correspondent of the London-based Somali Channel who has been accused of making facebook posts that angered Puntland administration. According to MAP, The case against Jama Deperani was later dropped following negotiations between Media Association of Puntland (MAP), and Puntland Information ministry.

In similar circumstances, the Media in Puntland were ordered not report the Adado conference.

For further information, please contact:
National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ)
Press House, Taleex area, Hodan District,
Mogadishu, Somalia,
Office Line: Tel: +252 1 859 944,
Email: nusoj@ymail.com or nusojsomali@gmail.com