19 December 2014
The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) strongly condemns the arrest of a prominent journalist in central Somalia.
Security forces in Beledweyne town of Hiran region arrested yesterday, 18 December 2014, Osman Adan Areys, reporter of Somali Chanel TV in the region, who is also secretary of NUSOJ’s central Branch.
Areys was accused of covering an event in which a youth leader for Hiran Regional Administration was elected by youth groups. Regional authorities were irked of this news report, which was broadcasted from Somali Channel TV. Security forces, acting on the orders of the regional administration, went to Arey’s office and took him to police station where is currently detained.
“We denounced the arrest and interrogation of Osman Adan Areys and call for his immediate release” said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General. “This arrest indicates that journalists continue to be subject to unacceptable pressure from local authorities even after extremists were driven out”.
NUSOJ demands the Hiran administration to come clean about why Osman Adan Areys was arrested and explain their action. “It is unacceptable to have arbitrary and unexplained actions that are tantamount to intimidation” added Osman.
After Friday prayers, Beledweyne residents came and demonstrated before the headquarters of Regional Administration, demanding the release of Areys. Police fired live bullets to disperse protesters. At least one protester was wounded.
The union warns that media freedom in Hiran region will suffer if the lawful activities undertaken by journalists such as Areys are tagged as crimes.