Somaliland: “Journalists Have Rights to Pursue Information on Privatized Public Property”-Solja
Argues the local Media organization as it decries the imprisonment of Berbera based journalists for publishing news related to the privatized National Fuel Depot of which reporting shall continue without fear
The pursuit of information and its subsequent publishing for public consumption is a right granted journalist buy the constitution of Somaliland.
This is per a statement released by the Somaliland Journalist Association-Solja in which it also castigated the government for continued persecution of the fourth estate and its staffers solely to muzzle them from publicizing issues the authorities want kept in the dark.
The fervent reaction from the local scribe’s welfare body follows the arrest in Berbera of journalist Mohamed Abdilahi ‘Soo-fadiste’ for airing of the dark surrounding the state’s privatization of the national oil storage facility.
Sigillary Solja reveals that it is unaware of the whereabouts of three other of its members suspected to be in police custody in the port city.
Below are the verbatim excerpts of the Solja statement
Quote- the Somaliland journalist association-Solja views with consternation the arrest of journalist Mohamed Abdilahi ‘Soo-fadiste’ who is in his third day in Berbera police custody.
The irony of this incident is that Soo-fadiste was detained for airing on somalicable TV an incident in which residents of the port city booed down intent by government ministers to address Eid Al-Adha festivities in Berbera.
At the Same time Solja ids concerned about the unknown whereabouts of reporters Ahmed Saeed- Kalsan TV, Mubarak Niriig – Star TV and Abdirahman Mohamed Egge- Somnews TV.
According to reports the three journalists went missing immediately after police ransacked their respective homes with sources giving divergent information, that trio are in hiding out of town or held incommunicado by police.
This harassment comes in the heels of a recent incident of a similar nature perpetrated by Berbera police that ensued with the violent arrest of Somnews TV Journalist Abdirahman Mohamed Egge again on alleged crime of airing an interview with port residents opposed to the same privatization of the important national facility.
Solja is fully aware that the intensified persecution of its members in Sahil region and more specifically Berbera town emanates from the government’s intent to muzzle exposure of ill feelings by citizens towards its national fuel Depot managerial handover to a private company.
As all and sundry are aware the disposal of the Berbera based important facility from public to private hands has raised acrimonies that started when the Members of parliament voted overwhelmingly against a motion tabled by the government for the said privatization and culminating in the unprecedented physical fight between house speaker Abdirahman Irro and his deputy Mohamed Bashe.
And in reference to the flagrant threats issued publicly by the deputy industry minister in which he warned that the state shall take punitive action against any entity opposed to its fuel depot privatization hand over, Solja discerns this as muzzling of the media to deter free flow of factual information as well as destruction of the country’s laws in relation to press freedom and protection of public property.
In lieu of the fact that the government has not availed details of the privatization agreement to the public nor received approval from the legislature as per constitutional stipulations, Solja stands firm and supports continued journalistic investigations and subsequent disbursement of accrued information for public consumption be it citizens opinions and views or details the government wants kept hidden.
To this effect Solja hereby demands that the concerned ministry immediately cease its on-going persecution of journalists and to publicly retract its revealed intent to muzzle any publication of information the government wants kept secret, not for national security but on some hidden agendas of which it is the duty of the fourth estate to unearth and share with the public.
Finally and owing to the fact that the government does not have the authority nor moral obligation to deter revelations of irregular deals by the state, Solja urges the president and the judiciary to expedite the release of the unjustly held journalists currently under custody of police in Berbera-Unquote
Mahmud Ahmed Jama
Chairperson -Somaliland Journalist Association-Solja
26th September 2015