The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) expressed deepening concern about the attrition of press freedom in Somaliland, where they have numerous times arrested critical journalists and shutter independent news media, following the arrest of the chairman Haatuf and Somaliland Times Newspapers by the Somaliland police.
Police in Hargeysa on Saturday arrested the chairman of the twin newspapers, Haatuf and Somaliland Times, Yuusuf Cabdi Gaboobe on Saturday 14 June, 2014 citing court orders, after paying visit to the the court to get information regarding the scheduled date for the hearing of his newspapers’ case.
According to the editor of the Haatuf newspaper, Ahmed Ali Cige who spoke to the local media, said that the regional Hargeysa Court demanded the arrest of Gabobe through warranty on Saturday, following his visit to the court, sending him behind bars.
Both the editor Ahmed Ali and the Chairman Yusuf Abdi Gabobe were released on bail on May 28, 2014, after spending at least 17 days in prison. However, the Somaliland authorities also shut down the offices of Haatuf newspaper and its sister English publication Somaliland Times on 7 April, 2014 following police raid.
“We call upon the Somaliland authorities for the unconditional release of Mr. Gabobe.” Mohamed Ibrahim, NUSOJ Secretary General said, “A democratic administration respects the principles of the free press, contrary to the crackdown we are witnessing, as we demand total RESET to the Media Freedoms.”
“Applying the press in criminal law, while the press law is in place shows the regime’s zero tolerance against the independent press.” Mr. Ibrahim added.
In February, Somaliland authorities also suspended indefinately the offices of Universal TV for allegedly accusing to have offended the regional president Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud Silanyo. The comedy programme that Univiersla Television broadcast weekly annoyed the administration leading to the shut down of the Television offices in Hargeysa. The UK based Television continue to broadcast via Satellite.