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Radio station shut down in semi-autonomous region of Somalia

(NUSOJ/IFEX) - 8 October 2012 - The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) expresses concern over the closure of a private radio station in Bosaso, a city in Somalia's semi-autonomous Puntland region.

Puntland police shut down Horseed Media on Saturday, 6 October, after the radio station was accused of spreading false news that is meant to "destabilise [the] peace and stability of Puntland."

The police said that they got the order to close down the radio station from the Ministry of Information, who had allegedly sent an official letter to the police headquarters in Garowe. But the Horseed Media office in Bosaso never received said letter, according to the management of Horseed Media.

Abdikani Hassan, the Director of Horseed Media, said "We don't know why such [a] decision was taken by the authorities, still no reason is given [as to] why the radio was shutdown. We respect the law and the constitution of Puntland, all broadcasted radio programs of Horseed Media are recorded and archived….we never broadcasted anything that is unlawful…we are asking the government to allow us to continue to provide our media services to the public."

Horseed Media said that authorities in Puntland have censored Horseed Media several times before, in retaliation for its exclusive news and programs covering events in Puntland.

In September 2012, Puntland President Abdirahman Mohamed Farole reportedly said that his administration will not tolerate "failed politicians" and some "media" to threaten his rule in Puntland, "…we allow the opposition if they join a political party, but we will not tolerate those failed politicians and so-called websites and media who are supporting Puntland's enemies including terrorists and pirates…" said President Farole in his speech during a cabinet meeting in Garowe.

"We call on Puntland's authorities to allow Horseed Radio to resume its operations," said Abdiweli Hassan Gooni, Puntland Coordinator for NUSOJ.

What other IFEX members are saying

Puntland radio station still shut, its news website blocked (IPI)

The executive director of Horseed Media, Mahad Mussa, told IPI that Horseed's FM station is still off air, more than a week after its Bosaso headquarters were shut down. Access to has also been blocked, Mussa said, noting it was the first time that a website has been censored in Puntland. According to Mussa, the radio station and website were targeted because they have recently covered and translated news about a number of sensitive issues. These include the Puntland president's efforts to postpone elections scheduled to take place in January 2013. Horseed has also raised questions about the degree of official involvement in the activities of private military firms that the United Nations has accused of breaking the Somalia arms embargo.

Puntland authorities close down radio and website (CPJ)
Open letter to Puntland's president about radio station's closure (RSF)

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