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Puntland Police Detain Television Journalist and a female reporter Forced to go into Hiding, After Overnight House Raids

By National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ)
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MOGADISHU, Somalia, November 16, 2011/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) and the Media Association of Puntland (MAP) protest against the deliberate attack and man hunt against journalists which continues in Puntland, following the overnight police raid of the houses of two journalists working for Somali Chanel Television in Garowe.

The Puntland police raided the houses of , Mr. Mahad Abdi Ali, Reporter and Cameraman and Ms Saido-Kiin Ahmed Jama, a reporter, both Somali Chanel Reporters in Garowe respectively at around 2:00am on Tuesday and entered the houses by force, sending Mahad Abdi Ali behind bars without a warrant arrest. But, Miss. Saido-Kiin Ahmed Jama told NUSOJ that she was not at home at the time of the police raid and went into hiding after receiving tips of possible police raid at her house.

“Five armed police on board two vehicles came to my house, searched me the house completely, but was not able to find me, because I left the house in the evening time, when I got a tip from friends.” Saido-Kiin Ahmed Jama in hiding told NUSOJ by phone, “They later asked my Mom to my whereabouts, but informed that she did not know.”

She was later called today by the commander of Garowe central police station, Dhakiye Abdi Gabayre and was informed to come to the police station, according to Saida-Kin who spoke with NUSOJ and on late Tuesday afternoon, commander of Eastern Police station in Garowe along with several police searched the journalist at her house.

Mr. Ali is held at the Garowe Central Police station and has not been brought to court yet. On late Tuesday afternoon on police permission, he was allowed to talk NUSOJ on the phone told that the commander of the Regional police division of Nugaal in Garowe, the headquarters of the semi-autonamous regions of Puntland, told the journalist that he was arrested on the orders of the ministry of Information.

The arrest of the journalists follows after Somali Chanel Television, where both journalists worked for, broadcast news story reported from Taleex district of Sool region by the journalists. The Puntland Administration termed that news broadcast violation against the ban, according to information received by both NUSOJ and MAP.

The semi-autonomous state of Puntland banned the Somali Chanel Television and Universal Television on November 1, 2011. The Puntland President personally told the Lawmakers in Puntland that both Television networks violated Puntland security and it was followed by a directorate from the Puntland's Ministry of Information suspending both TV networks from their work in Puntland on November 1, 2011. On November 13, 2011 the Puntland information Ministry issued a warning statement accusing the television networks to have violated the ban.

The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) and its Affiliate, the Media Association of Puntland (MAP) jointly condemn these violations, against the journalists and the media in Puntland, committed by Puntland government and demand the immediate release of the journalist, stop the hunt of the female reporter and lift the ban of the of the two television network in line with the Puntland constitution.

“We protest the act of raiding the houses of the journalists without following the legal procedures of losing the freedom of man.” Mohamed Ibrahim, NUSOJ Secretary General said, “We demand the Puntland government to stop the attacks against the independent press and journalists working under the regions under their control.”

“Freedom of expression and ideas is guaranteed by the Puntland Constitution, Transitional Federal Charter of the Somali government as depicted in article 20 section 1 and 2, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and international treaties, as well as by those regional and global conventions of which Somalia is a member and We demand those freedoms to be put into practice and these harsh violence against the journalist and media houses in Puntland must stop.” Mr.

Ibrahim added.

Puntland has an already bad record of press freedom and journalists have been increasingly targeted by both Puntland government and the insurgents fighting against the administration in an attempt to undermine the independent reporting.

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