Press Statement: Mogadishu- Sunday 08 September, 2019: Federation of Somali Journalists (FESOJ) condemns the shutdown of Horyal24 TV on Friday evening, 6 September, by the government of Somaliland and the subsequent arbitrary arrest of the TV’s Director, Mr. Mohamed Osman Mire on Saturday morning.
Lawyer Mohamed Ismail speaking on behalf of the TV had accused the security forces of raiding Horyaal24 TV station headquarters in Hargeisa on Friday evening while on air without any legal procedure or court order and ordering the TV staff on duty to vacate the premises. He mentioned that no court warrant or other forms of written order was shown to the management of the television at the time of the closure.
According to a statement from the Somaliland Ministry of Information, a program that aired a week earlier was stated the reason why they had closed the TV station. The program in question covered drug abuse, in particular, the use of Miraa by women in Somaliland.
“The arbitrary closure of Horyaal24 television station is a deliberate assault on freedom of expression and of the media and shows a total disregard for citizens’ fundamental right to receive information, “said FESOJ General Secretary Mohamed Ibrahim Moalimuu. It is unacceptable that the security forces take over the media and threaten journalists conducting their normal work.
Federation of Somali Journalists (FESOJ) calls on the Somaliland Government to allow the private television station to resume broadcasting with immediate effect and without any form of hindrance or restrictions.
On 3 September, a judge in Hargeisa had ordered internet service providers to block the news website, Hadhwanaag, after the Central Bank Governor registered a formal complaint against the media outlet for publishing reports of alleged corruption against his person, a report which the Central Bank Governor vehemently denied and dismissed as unfounded.
Human rights groups and media organizations have condemned the blocking of Hadhwaanagnews website, the closure of Horyaal TV, and the detention of its director Mr Mohamed Isman Mire. They allege that the government’s intention is to stifle press freedom which is enshrined in the country’s constitution.
Abdikani Hassan Elmi, a member of Horyaal24 TV staff, condemned Somaliland government of violating Somaliland’s constitution and media law.
“If anyone has issues against our TV output, he has to go through the legal process otherwise we consider as act as flagrant abuse of power and affront against media freedom and editorial independence.”