Puntland government releases Journalist on bail, Television Networks still under Suspension

By National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ)

MOGADISHU, Somalia, November 18, 2011/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) and the Media Association of Puntland (MAP) and the Somali journalists in Nairobi welcome the release of the Somali Chanel reporter from custody by the Puntland government and demand the immediate withdrawal of the decision that suspended the two television networks and call for to guarantee the safety and the security of Somali journalists in Puntland.

Mr. Mahad Abdi Ali was released on Wednesday afternoon around 4:30pm from Garowe Central Police Station on bail granted by our affiliate, Media Association of Puntland, after 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.

The raid comes after the Puntland Ministry of information issued a warning statement against the Television networks, accusing them to have voilated the ban.

The release of the journalist follows after the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), Media Association of Puntland (MAP) and their large member journalists campaigned for his freedom inside and outside the country. On Wednesday, more than 40 member Journalists in Nairobi gathered in Nairobi's Grand Royal Hotel and signed petitions to the Puntland government, among others.

The Somali Television networks are still under the suspension and the press freedom campaigns against the Puntland government will continue until they allow journalists and media stations to exercise freely without fear of reprisals.

"We are happy and welcome that our colleagues received their freedom back and our hearts and minds were with them." Mohamed Ibrahim, Secretary General of the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) said, "But, we still feel threatened and call Puntland government to immediately lift the ban of the two television network."

"We call for the Puntland government to probe into the shooting incidents by unidentified armed gunmen in Basaso and Galkacyo and grenade attacks against Radio stations in Galkacyo and bring those involved to Justrice." Mr. Ibrahim added.

The attacks against the journalists and media stations in Puntland has been detoriating in recent months, putting the already bad record of the press to the worst.

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