INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF JOURNALISTS 8 APRIL 2014 PRESS RELEASE
Harassment on Independent Media in Somaliland Must Stop, IFJ Says
The harassment on independent media in Somaliland must stop, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) says today. According to IFJ affiliate in Somalia, the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), Somaliland police shut down on April 7 the independent daily newspaper Haatuf following the decision of Marodi Jeeh Regional court in Hargeisa. The court accused the newspaper of having published insults, NUSOJ said.
“Authorities in Somaliland must stop the harassment against independent media. They have shown strong determination to gag the voice of the voiceless. This is an affront to the African Union principles of freedom of expression in Africa ,” said Gabriel Baglo, IFJ Africa director.
NUSOJ quoted editor of Haatuf newspaper, Ahmed Ali Igeh who explains that while the staff was working in the office, several police officers led by Commander Mohamed Mohamud entered. The Commander showed a letter from the court ordering the newspaper to be shut down after it insulted ministers and members of parliament. “We rejected having published insults but factual reports,” Editor Ahmed Ali Igeh said.
Police have currently occupied the premises of the newspaper.“The closure of Haatuf newspaper is another black mark on freedom of the press in Somaliland. It is an attempt to silence the voice of dissent,” said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General. “With Hubaal newspaper still closed and police in their offices, this is a definite deterioration of press freedom,” added Osman.
It is widely believed that the closure of the newspaper was caused by its coverage of activities by Somaliland ministers.Haatuf recently published critical reports over “alleged corruption” by Somaliland Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources, Mr Hussein Abdi Duale. The newspaper also published reports concerning recent travel to Kenya of Somaliland Minister of Interior, Ali Mohamed Waran Ade.
IFJ joins its affiliate NUSOJ to demand Somaliland authorities to remove police from offices of both Haatuf and Hubaal newspapers, and stop judiciary harassment against these newspapers in order to allow journalists working for independent media to operate without fear.