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Somaliland Bans Two Private Television Stations

The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) is gravely alarmed over the decision of Somaliland authorities to ban two privately owned television stations in the its regions.

According to statement published by the Somaliland News Agency, SOLNA, Somaliland Ministry of Information and Public Awareness said “It is clear that two televisions stations which are SBS TV and SOM News TV have carried out political campaigns and propaganda war against Somaliland”.

Particularly the Somaliland Ministry accused SBS TV for “creation and dissemination of false news and programmes and public incitement to foment violence in Sool rtegion”, while it accused SOM News TV for “incitement announcements and tribal encouragement in Las Anod”, adding that both stations are “out of journalism ethics”.

“We are appalled by the decision of Somaliland administration to ban two television stations which is a clear move to gag or threaten the media over coverage of the current political and security events in Sool region” said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General.

NUSOJ is concerned that both stations were vaguely and politically accused of “playing incitement music and propaganda programs” which may result, not only closure of stations, but further draconian measures, that might endanger the life of journalists and other media workers of the both TV stations.

It was a day ago when Somaliland authorities arrested Mohamed Ahmed Jama, an employee of SBS, for filming anti-Somaliland protests in Las Anod Town, joining Abdirahman Kayse of Bulsho TV in the prison with similar spurious accusations.

NUSOJ is deeply disturbed by the Somaliland’s iron fist measures against journalists and private media houses who report on the Tukaraq conflict between Somaliland and Puntland, and called on the administration in Hargeisa to lift the ban on the two TV stations and respect the right of the people in Sool to exercise the right to freedom of expression, and safeguard the security and wellbeing of journalists.