The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) strongly protests the Puntland State of Somalia’s closure of a private television station in Garowe.
In an official letter issued on Saturday, 21 September, Puntland Minister of Information, Communications, Culture and Heritage Ahmed Sheikh Jama Yusuf announced the closure of Universal TV in Puntland for an indefinite period. The TV station, which is based in London, was closed down due to its lack of LIVE coverage of the speech of Puntland President at the New Deal Conference in Brussels, Belgium, on 16 September.
Minister Jama accused Universal TV of committing following “transgressions”: “antagonism” and “hostility” against Puntland as well as violation of “ethical values of journalism”. The closure was executed on Saturday from 8am local time. Police and security agents ordered the station to cease broadcasting immediately, NUSOJ has learned.
Puntland people submitted as complaints against Universal TV, said the letter from the Minister who added that the owners of Universal TV have made agreement with federal government of Somalia which they wanted “cheap food” from the government.
Nuh Muse Birjeb, head of Universal TV in Puntland, strongly refused these accusations saying its was not the fault of the TV station not to cover the LIVE coverage of Puntland President.
“We condemn this arbitrary act of censorship and call on Puntland to allow Universal TV to resume its operations in Puntland and to conduct its broadcasting from Puntland without further hindrance,” said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General. “The Puntland authority has once again demonstrated its contempt for press freedom”.