A Troubled Year for Somaliland’s Media

Hargeisa, 3 August 2009 (Somalilandpress) – Every nation’s information flows through a variety of media system intended for progress and for its people’s guidance. Somaliland media has done a commendable job in the development and community awareness of their country. Radios, Televisions, Web-sites, Magazines and Journals transmit full sense of persuasions, suggestions, criticisms, warnings, advertisements, congratulations and vacancy announcements.

The wide benefits from media means it acts as a public good in development of a nation. The right to receive information and to the freedom of expression is set out in the African charter for Human and Peoples’ Rights and also Somaliland’s constitution. This must be respected by Somaliland government.

The media is an educator and key information source that can promote peace, stability and transparent governance. For example, Somaliland now has 8 private newspapers, two independent private television stations and one radio stations, for one state local radio stations and one television station. This rapid expansion has generated some problems, including inadequately trained journalist, poor provisional standards and week-self regulation. More over, Somaliland government much controlled the private media and remains government owned. The monopolization of media by the government undermines media freedom and popular trust, and creates space of distortion and rumor.

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The single greatest obstacle facing Somaliland media were the illegal arrests made by the government. 27th March 2009, four journalists were arrested by the government. Three of the journalists were released in 8 hours later while the other one was remained in prison, later on Ahmed Saleban Dhuxul was caught by the police at the parliament compound while the house of elders had a session to extend the president’s term in office in the morning 28th March 2009. The detained reporter, Ahmed Saleban Dhuxul was an independent correspondent of Somaliland Space Channel (SLSC) and radio Horyaal.

Mr. Dhuxul was denied access to enter the hall of the meeting while the other journalists were allowed to take part the assembly of the House of elders. He was released after government failed to confirm his guilty to the court.

Interviewed on the phone, one of the released reporters told us Jamahiriya news paper at that time, that his arrest happened at Jigjiga-yar road, where he was taken to the central police station. The reporter, Mr: Liibaan Maweel Shire spent the night at the police station and in the morning 28th March at 10:00 am the police caught Dhuxul and sent him at the police station. He also added that the government has recently increased a systematic campaign against the press. This arrest was condemned by Union Of Somaliland Journalists (USJ) and indicated that the government in recent months arrested a number of journalists like Curad the editor of Yool newspaper and tortured number of them, as the HCTV Camera man who was beaten in Dacar Budhuq district east of Hargeisa.

On 12 July 2009, Mr. Dhuxul and his colleague Sayid were arrested again. The government linked their arrest as they works for a private radio called Radio Horyaal which the government believes that it belongs to the main opposition party named Kulmiye.

On 29th July 2009, at 6:30pm Somaliland police closed down the Horn Cable TV office in Hargeisa. The police later on headed to the studio located east suburb of the city; how ever after a long tedious quarrel and brushes between the reporters and staffs at the studio, the police forcefully arrested the news head of HCTV, Mr. Mohamed Abdi (llig).

Finally, we are criticizing this systematic campaign against the private media. But the question is how can we save our local media?

Submitted by: Farhan Abdi Suleiman

Farhan Abdi Suleiman ( oday) is a student at University of Hargeisa.
Email: oday1999@yahoo.com
Phone: 4401132

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Views expressed in the opinion articles are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the editorial

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