The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) has today expressed serious concern over the closure of yet another critical newspaper in Hargeisa by Somaliland authorities.
The shutdown order was today implemented by Somaliland police after it was issued by Marodi Jeeh Regional court in Hargeisa against the independent daily newspaper Haatuf which is yet another example of Somaliland’s determination to gag independent voices.
“While working in our office, several police officers led by commander Mohamed Mohamud entered who showed us letter from the court which was signed by judge Ahmed Ismail Dalmar. The court ordered the newspaper to be shut down after it insulted ministers and members of parliament,” said editor of Haatuf newspaper, Ahmed Ali Igeh, who rejected that they published any insult but factual reports.
According to Haatuf newspaper, some hundred police forces came to the headquarters of the newspapers and ordered journalists and media workers to vacate. Police currently occupies 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,” said Omar Faruk 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 by Somaliland Minister of Interior, Ali Mohamed Waran Ade.
NUSOJ demands Somaliland authorities to remove police from offices of both Haatuf and Hubaal newspapers, immediately stop judiciary harassment against these newspapers and allow journalists working for independent media to operate without fear of repercussion.