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Another critical newspaper shut down in Somaliland

The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) expresses serious concern over the closure of yet another critical newspaper in Hargeisa by Somaliland's authorities on 7 April 2014.

The shutdown order against the independent daily newspaper Haatuf was implemented by Somaliland police after being issued by Marodi Jeeh Regional Court in Hargeisa. It is yet another example of Somaliland's determination to gag independent voices.

“While working in our office, several police officers led by commander Mohamed Mohamud entered. [They] showed us a letter from the court which was signed by Judge Ahmed Ismail Dalmar. The court ordered the newspaper to be shut down after it insulted ministers and members of parliament,” said the editor of Haatuf newspaper, Ahmed Ali Igeh, who rejected that they published any insult but factual reports.

According to Haatuf newspaper, some hundred police forces came to the headquarters of the newspaper and ordered journalists and media workers to vacate. Police currently occupy the premises of the newspaper.

“The closure of Haatuf newspaper is another black mark on freedom of the press in Somaliland. It is an attempt to silence the voice of dissent,” said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General. “With Hubaal newspaper still closed and police in their offices, this is a definite deterioration of press freedom,” he added.

It is widely believed that the closure of the newspaper was caused by its coverage of Somaliland ministers's activities. Haatuf recently published critical reports over “alleged corruption” by Somaliland's Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources, Mr Hussein Abdi Duale. The newspaper also published reports concerning recent travel to Kenya by Somaliland's Minister of Interior, Ali Mohamed Waran Ade.

NUSOJ demands Somaliland's authorities to remove police from offices of both Haatuf and Hubaal newspapers, immediately stop judiciary harassment against these newspapers and allow journalists working for independent media to operate without fear of repercussion.

What other IFEX members are saying
  • Harassment of Independent Media in Somaliland Must Stop, says IFJ

    “Authorities in Somaliland must stop the harassment against independent media. They showed a strong determination and will to gag the voice of the voiceless. This is an affront to global free expression,” said Gabriel Baglo, IFJ Africa director.

  • Somaliland: Newspaper raided and shut down following corruption article

    “It is never necessary or proportionate under international law to order the closure of an entire newspaper because of one or several articles,” said Henry Maina, ARTICLE 19 Eastern Africa Director. “Doing so via a police raid is equally disproportionate, given the negative effect such an act of state intimidation would have on the entire media.”

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