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Radio Galkayo shut down, station director arrested

(NUSOJ/IFEX) - On 16 November 2008, NUSOJ condemned both the shutting down of Radio Galkayo radio station by the Puntland police and the arrest of journalist Hassan Mohammed Jama, the director of Radio Galkayo.

The commander of the Puntland police in the Mudug region, Colonel Abdirisak Ismail, who is known as Darwish, along with a team of well-armed police officers raided Radio Galkayo at 2:00 p.m. (local time) and ordered the staff to shut down the station. Colonel Darwish also ordered his soldiers to arrest Hassan Mohammed Jama.

The police commander told the director of the radio station that the order to arrest him and shut down the station was issued by the president of Puntland, General Adde Muse, who is currently visiting Galkayo.

Journalists in Galkayo told NUSOJ that the Puntland president issued the order following a news report that Radio Galkayo aired on the visit of the president to Galkayo. In the report, the radio station stated that the president's visit was related to both his campaign for upcoming presidential elections and unverified reports of the president receiving weapons from abroad at Galkayo Airport.

"Desperate leaders in Puntland are accustomed to targeting the media by either shutting down media outlets or trying to make the media their puppet," said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ's Secretary General. "Puntland must release Hassan Mohammed Jama and allow Radio Galkayo to operate without restraint."

NUSOJ is a national union representing Somali journalists to promote and protect freedom of the press and the interests and rights of journalists.

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