Somalia: Puntland government imposes restrictive surveillance measures on media

Authorities in Puntland, an autonomous region of Somalia, announced on 22 September that all the independent media houses and journalists operating in the region will have to register in “order to monitor their daily journalistic work”. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) in condemning the "blatant attempt to restrict and control journalists".

Puntland’s Information Minister Ali Hassan Ahmed announced that all journalists in Puntland are obliged to register at his ministry before 15 October 2019 to monitor their activity. The minister added that the ministry will examine the professional experience of the media workers and will potentially remove their official accreditation if they prove a ”lack of journalism skills”.

The NUSOJ condemned the decision and warned about the increasing pattern of harassment of journalists and media houses in Puntland.

This directive carries all the hallmarks of a government-inspired attempt to control and intimidate journalists and media housesIt is not surprising that a number of our colleagues in Puntland have been harassed while the government announces this illegitimate directive as a means to control critical journalists,” said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General and IFJ Executive Committee member.

The act follows a series of attempts to intimidate and harass media in Puntland. On september 14,15 and 16 troops raided the building hosting Radio Dajir in Garowe city (Puntland) and searched the station's offices while it was broadcasting live, while September 3, authorities closed down arbitrarily the Puntland Times, a regional news outlet.

IFJ General Secretary, Anthony Bellanger, said : “We are deeply concerned about the increasing harassment and threats to journalists’ rights in Somalia. We call on Putland’s authorities to take down the directive and respect media worker’s rights according to international standards”.

For more information, please contact IFJ on +32 2 235 22 16

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