Somaliland:Universal TV at the Center of Controversy About Freedom of Speech

By Abdirahman Mohamed Diriye

Kenan Malik, intellectual and writer on theories of human nature and meaning of race. He is also a passionate supporter of unfettered free speech. “What do you think if we’ve to censor every comment, every image somebody found offensive? He asked in the Dispatches Muslim Vs Free Speech, do Somalilanders need limitations on freedom of speech because certain public figure got upset or certain group sees satire an offensive?  Somaliland needs more free speech. Today the same scenario has been played out in Somaliland to suppress the freedom of speech for lame excuses.  Universal TVbroadcasted some sort of political hilarious satire about president Silanyo’s exact role in running in his government. The acting reporter asked his cartoon-looking president whether he is in charge of the state of the affairs in night shift or if his family members run the country throughout the night. The acting president’s answer was shocking “yes it is okay some members of my family can co-run the government”. The drama which satirized the president drawn mountain of anger from the spin doctor Mr. Ukuse— democracies have no ministry of information but press secretaries— the satire, however, suggested that Somaliland’s democracy—government for the people, of the people, and by the people according the definition of democracy founders— has tragically derailed and reduced to mere family enterprise. Is that true?

During the past couple of years of President Silanyo’s reign, there has been unprecedented crackdown on media: intimidation of journalists, shutdown of press, TV channels, blocking online newspapers that criticize the ruling family, and arbitrary arrests of media men and women. The government sent official police man to Hubaal Newspaper to silence the chief editor but luckily he survived with broken arm. Finally, his newspaper was closed down.

The government has been quite upset about every program aired by other than their mouthpiece TV, once national TV.

But the country needs more fun like this and nothing wrong with it, it was very entertaining to us but devastating to sycophants and to bootlicker-yes-men MPs and Ministers whose job turned to welcome real ministers that have say in everything from toilet repairing in Somaliland to Somalia’s reunification talks underway in Turkey. Universal TV has to make another caricature about ministers whose houses were incomplete in Hargaysa because the UK child benefits financing the construction of mansions were cut unexpectedly before completion, therefore; they decided to ask president’s “inner circle” to nominate them to suck the poor masses’ blood to death! Yesterday my uncle, minister of no-ministry who was in the restroom was dialed by Hirsi secretary to rush to the airport to warmly welcome Hirsi or lose his job! My uncle minister drove his car fast and hit passerby in Alamadda district near the Airport Rd. This will be the next episode of Universal TV hopefully.

In democracies rich like ours unlike Somalia’s religious totalitarianism, and Puntland’s tribal pirate tyranny, can talk about every public figure from president to lowest janitor to update the electorates and correct if the government is wrong.

It is true that President Ahmed Silanyo falsely fought for freedom of speech to get votes only and started to arrest journalists and close down media outlets to cover up his irregularities when he reached power. He knows the danger the media poses to his corrupt regime. Though ministers recruited either for they worked with one of the major financier KULMIYE, and proved their loyalty to Garadagism, set of tribal rules designed to wholesale loot the national resources of the country in the first five years in power, or for they were close, distant relatives of the First Family either side from the husband or the wife, don’t rat on the pledge to stuffing of their own pockets alone without caring the public concerns. The government can inflate some one’s belly but can’t not build water, it can build the road because it goes through, and connect certain isolated villages, but not build health centers for other villages where women deliver newborn babies in the open air and under trees without midwifes! That is not their task or the towns voted for UDUB, the Faqash Party.

Next episodes of Universal TVs will be on these subjects. Government’s protests, nonetheless, against funny program yet informative are not big deals.

I, on behalf of Somaliland freedom lovers congratulate Universal TV for their courage to satirize president who spies on law-abiding citizens rather than criminals who snitch phones and gold necklaces publicly in the high ways and sleeping opportunist cells of Al-Qaeda within the country who are waiting the security to weaken.


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