IFJ Warns of Press Freedom Deterioration in Somaliland

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today voiced its concerns over the deterioration of press freedom in the self-declared republic of Somaliland following the arrests of two journalists, Mohamed Osman Mire and Ahmed Suleyman Dhuhul of radio Horoyaal.

"We are deeply concerned about the press freedom situation in Somaliland," said Gabriel Baglo, Director of IFJ Africa Office. "These latest arrests confirm a worrying pattern of intimidation and harassment of the independent media in the country."

According to the National Union of Somali Journalists( NUSOJ), an IFJ affiliate, Mohamed Osman Mire, also known as Siyad and Ahmed Suleyman Dhuhul, respectively Director and News Editor of Horyaal Radio were arrested on 13 July by Somaliland police at the offices of the radio station in Hargeisa. The two journalists are detained at the Criminal Investigation Division's headquarters. The police had produced arrest warrants for the journalists before taking them away, according to journalists in Somaliland.

The journalists' arrests followed the broadcast of 10 July by the station about the meeting between Somaliland President Dahir Rayae Kahin and 25 elders from Gabiley town, which was held behind closed doors and reportedly ended in disagreement, according to sources in Somaliland.

The NUSOJ denounced political interference in the work of journalists in Somaliland and accused politicians in the breakaway republic of attempting to control and manipulate media.

"We condemn this climate of intimidation and fear targeting journalists in Somaliland. The detention of Mohamed Osman Mire and Ahmed Suleyman Dhuhul is unlawful and a sign of a campaign to suppress independent journalism for political reasons," said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary-General.  "These acts of intimidation are intolerable and Somaliland authorities must release the journalists immediately and unconditionally and end other actions of bullying against journalists and news media houses"

For more information contact the IFJ at   + 221 33 867 95 87      

The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 123 countries worldwide