Somaliland : IFJ condemns closure of two private TV stations

[UPDATED, 1ST JULY] The government of Somaliland today ordered the suspension of two independent private TV stations Eryal and Horyaal. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) condemned the decision as an attempt to silence critical voices.

Eryal TV and Horyaal TV were shut down following a written order issued by Somaliland Minister of Information Mohamed Musse Dirie. Horyaal TV was forced to stop operating when armed forces entered its headquarters. Eryal TV complied with the order and stopped broadcasting.

Both channels are independent media, critical of the local government. They are accused of “interfering in the inner-activities of security forces” and “being against Somaliland’s nationhood”.

Omar Faruk Osman, General Secretary of the NUSOJ, said: “We are seriously troubled by the suspension of Horyaal and Eryal TV networks. We have already seen individual reporters targeted because they will not toe the administration line. We call on the Somaliland authorities to reverse the order suspending the operations of the two television networks and let journalists and their stations report openly.”

Anthony Bellanger, General Secretary of the IFJ, said: “The closure of independent media in Somaliland is clearly an act of censorship. We urge the authorities to reopen Eryal TV and Horyaal TV and allow critical voices to be heard, for societies always benefit from press freedom and freedom of information."

Update, 1st July. On June 30, the local government of Somaliland has allowed Eryal TV and Horyaal TV to resume their operations. However, it imposed severe restrictions on the editorial freedom of both stations, including a decree banning any critical news about the security forces or deemed to be critical to Somaliland nationhood and the order to refer to Somaliland as a republic. We call on the local authorities to drop these restrictions which constitute violations of press freedom.

 

 

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