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Puntland authorities order suspension of broadcast journalist from his work

(NUSOJ/IFEX) - The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) condemns the suspension from work of Mr. Nuh Muse Birjeb, a journalist working with the Voice of America (VOA) Somali Service, who is also the correspondent for Universal TV in the Puntland regions.

"The suspension of a journalist who is merely carrying out his media work is a breach of press freedom. We understand that this is the height of a series of intimidations and scrutiny against Nuh Muse. Such actions are tantamount to an open subjugation of the journalist's freedom," said NUSOJ secretary general Omar Faruk Osman.

The Puntland Ministry of Information, Telecommunication and Culture issued a letter to the journalist on 10 August 2010 ordering him to suspend his work. The letter did not give the reason behind the suspension. Journalists in Puntland, however, believe the decision to suspend Nuh Muse came from the top leadership of the administration, including the Puntland presidency. Journalists believe Nuh Muse has been enduring a series of repressive actions and intimidation tactics originating from senior Puntland officials who, according to the journalists, could not tolerate his news reports, though it is not clear where the reports that instigated the suspension were broadcast.

"The authorities have failed to present credible and acceptable justifications for suspending Nuh Muse. There was no abuse of journalistic principles on the part of the journalist to warrant his suspension. This action thus has no legal basis," Omar Faruk declared.

"We demand the immediate lifting of the suspension, an end to the scrutiny of our colleague and for Puntland to allow Nuh Muse to resume his work freely," he added.

Puntland has been carrying out several repressive actions against journalists working for the VOA Somali service. Mohamed Yasin Isak, who was the VOA correspondent in Galkayo, fled to Kenya in fear for his life after he escaped from several attacks.

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