Somaliland police arrest four TV journalists in Hargeisa

MOGADISHU, Somalia, 30 July, 2019 – Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) condemns in the strongest terms possible the unlawful arrest of four journalists of the privately-owned Eryal TV by Somaliland police in Hargeisa on Tuesday 30 July, 2019.

Around 10:30am, armed police raided the Grand Hadi hotel and arrested four Eryal TV journalists: Badri Kosar, the Deputy Director; Abdirahman Abdillahi, Head of News; Aidarus Mohamed Abdi, TV reporter and Kamal Khalif Abdi, a cameraman. The TV journalists were conducting an interview with individuals who complained against a new government-initiated employment campaign.  The individuals interviewed blamed the job creation program was mismanaged by government officials, two colleagues told Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS).

“We went to Ibrahim Kodbur police station where the four journalists are currently held. The police told us that our colleagues were arrested on the orders of the top government officials,” journalist Ahmed Khalid of Eryal TV told Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS).

There were no charges against the four so far.

Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) condemns the latest wave of arrests against the Eryal TV journalists and calls for the Somaliland authorities to respect the freedom of the press and allow the journalists to freely exercise the profession.

“The violations against the press are at an alarming rate where journalists are continuously hunted by the police in Somaliland, in a bid to curtail their freedoms,” Abdalle Ahmed Mumin, Secretary General of Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) said, “We condemn these blatant violations and  call on the Somaliland authorities to unconditionally free the journalists”

“Arbitrary arrests, threats and violence against the press are unacceptable and should be stopped,” Mr. Mumin added.

The freedoms of press and that of the freedom of expression are growingly declining in Somaliland as authorities arrested 28 journalists in 2018, an indication of a worrying trend of restricting journalists’ rights to freedom of the press.

Somaliland’s security forces on 18 June raided the headquarters of Horyaal 24 TV and Eryal TV and forced both TV stations to stop operating. The two outlets were allowed to resume operations in 30 June.

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