This blog reports the abuses of media freedom defender in Somalia.
Tuesday, 8 April 2014
Somaliland authorities shut down independent papers
Nairobi, April 8,
2014-Police in the semi-autonomous republic of Somaliland on Thursday raided
the Hargeisa offices of the independent Somali-language paper Haatufand
its sister English-language weekly, Somaliland Times, and suspended
them indefinitely, according to local journalists and news reports.
The police cited a
court order that said the papers should be shut down for publishing false news
and insulting officials, according to the same sources. Haatuf publishes
six days a week. Local journalists and news
reports suggested the closure was linked to a series of critical reports in
alleged government corruption and the mishandling of finances.
did not provide an appeal process for the papers' shutdown, local journalists
told CPJ. By Somaliland law, court decisions are subject to appeal, according
to Guleid Ahmed, a lawyer and chairman of Somaliland's Human
Rights Center, a human rights advocacy group based in Hargeisa. Article 28 obliges the Somaliland
constitution to give parties equal opportunity before the judiciary, according
to a statement
by the Human Rights Center. Article 32 of the constitution forbids acts that
suppress the media, the statement said.
The steps follow the
shutting down of other news outlets. In February, authorities banned
indefinitely the private U.K.-based broadcaster Universal TV from airing in
Somaliland after it broadcasta comedy program that ridiculed the
president, according to local journalists and reports.
On December 13, police raided and closed
indefinitely the daily Hubaal citing a
court order that claimed the publication promoted insecurity in the nation. The
court did not allow for an appeal process, according to local journalists. Both
outlets are still shut down.
"Judging by these steps to close
several news outlets, the Somaliland government is headed toward one of the
worst crackdowns on the press since independence," said CPJ East Africa
Representative Tom Rhodes. "We call on authorities to allow Haatuf and
the Somaliland Times to resume publishing immediately."
CPJ is an independent, nonprofit organization that works to safeguard press freedom worldwide.