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Puntland: Media workers arrested for demanding salary payments

The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) protests the arrest of journalists and other media workers in Puntland over non-payment of 3-months salary arrears owed to them by the government television station.

Some fourteen journalists and other media workers, working for Puntland Television, were arrested after they demanded payment of their three month salaries and allowances.

The management of Puntland TV, which is owned by Puntland government, informed workers that they will be given two months salary and the provision of allowances will no longer exist.

Journalists and technicians refused to come to work and Puntland TV has been off air. The management of the TV station – along with Puntland police – arrested one of the technicians after the technician refused to put the TV on air. In solidarity, the journalists and other workers went on 28 September to the police station demanding their colleague's release, resulting in police also arresting protesting media workers.

“Instead of addressing their grievances and paying the media workers, it is disgraceful to arrest workers because they are peacefully putting their grievances forth to their manager and the general public,” said Abdirisak Omar Ismail, President of the NUSOJ Supreme Council.

NUSOJ fully backs the journalists' demands for their 3-month salary arrears to be paid in full and allowances provided as agreed when recruited to employment. The intimidation of rights-demanding media workers must end.

The union hails last night's [28 September 2014] urgent intervention by Puntland President, Abdiweli Mohamed Ali, to release them arrested media workers and invite them to his office today [29 September 2014] to discuss and solve their grievances.

“We want Puntland's president to instruct the management of Puntland TV to pay the salaries arrears of all their media workers swiftly and their allowances must not be removed,” added Ismail.

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