The police in the breakaway Somaliland on Tuesday arrested four journalists in Hargeisa town.
The four are from Eryal TV stations including TV director Badri Koosaar Mohamud, Head of current news Abdirahman Abdullahi Muhumad, a journalist Aydrus Mohamed Ahmed and cameraman Kamal Khalif Abdi.
According to member of Eryal TV management, all four journalists are now detained at Koodbuur police station and confirmed that they still don’t know the exact motive behind the detention of their TV staff. It is believed that the Somaliland government did not like some of the reports and programs broadcasted by the TV.
Federation of Somali Journalist Union (FESOJ) condemns – in the strongest terms possible the arbitrary arrest of the journalists by security forces as a ploy to intimidate the local journalists.
“Police officers stormed into the TV station as journalist staff continued their routine. We were so scared but they later took away with journalists despite they did not come or show a court warrant ordering the detention of TV journalists “ One of Eryal TV journalist told on the phone to FESOJ.
“The arrest of four Eryal TV journalists is an additional attack on media freedom to be added to the series of violations against journalists, media outlets and crackdown on freedom of the press by Somaliland,” said FESOJ General Secretary Mohamed Ibrahim Moalimuu . “Journalists in Somaliland are facing the difficult choice of continuing their journalism and putting themselves at risk. We call upon Somaliland authorities to cease their campaign of aggression against defenseless journalists who are justifiably exercising their right to report freely.”
It is not the first time that Somaliland authority arrests or suspends Eryal TV station and staff, It was on 18 June ,2019 when Somaliland shut down Eryal and Horyaal TVs for allegedly propagating propaganda against security and fueling conflict within the community but both TV stations were allowed to resume operations on 30 June ,2019 despite the authorities imposed new conditions meant to restrict the critical reporting of the media.
The Federation of Somali Journalists (FESOJ) , formerly known as NUSOJ, is calling on the Somaliland government to release journalists immediately and unconditionally, and their continued detention means another violation of freedom of expression and media. in Somaliland.