Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Puntland Suspends Private TV Networks

SOURCE: National Union of Somali Journalists/IFEX - 1 November 2011 - The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) wishes to protest against the decision of the Puntland government to suspend two private television networks from operating.

In January 2011, Puntland, an autonomous Somali region and home to pirates who threaten shipping in the Indian Ocean, broke ties with Somalia’s transitional government until a a new federal authority is in place in Mogadishu. The reason given is that the Mogadishu government “does not represent Puntland in international forums” and  Puntland called on “the UN Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS) to reconsider its position and support for the TFG at the expense of other Somali stakeholders.”

The Puntland President, Abdirahman Mohamud Farole, officially announced the suspension of Universal TV and Somali Channel TV in the regions controlled by his government, when he addressed the 27th session of the Puntland parliament on 30 October. He accused the two television networks of being an obstacle to the security of Puntland.

In the course of Farole's speech, reporters and cameramen of the television networks were stopped from covering the session and removed from the precincts of parliament.

Following the president's speech, the television networks received official letters on 30 October, from Abdillahi Mohamed Farah Aswad, Deputy Minister of Information, Telecommunication and heritage of Puntland, confirming the suspension for an unspecified period.

"Journalists and media organizations in Puntland have been confronted with difficult situations. They have suffered bullet wounds, been arrested and now the suspension of the two media channels. We denounce the decision by the Puntland authorities to suspend from operations the two television networks and we consider it an affront to the work of free media," said Omar Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General.

During a recent visit to London, Farole and his aides reportedly stopped Somali Chanel TV cameramen and reporters from covering a press conference he was holding in that city.

"We appeal to the Puntland authorities to withdraw the suspension against the television stations and allow them to do their work without controls and to stop placing restrictions on journalists' work," Osman added.

Puntland State consists of the following seven regions of Ayn, Bari, Sanaag, Karkaar, Nugaal, Mudug and Sool. The total area of the State of Puntland is 212,510 km, roughly one-third of Somalia's geographical area.

For more information:

National Union of Somali Journalists
1st Floor, Human Rights House
Taleex Street, KM4 Area, Hodan District
nusoj (@) nusoj.or
Phone: +252 1 859 944
Fax: +252 1 859 944

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