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Judicial harassment of journalists in Somaliland should end

17 August 2016

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has joined its affiliate, the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), in calling on the Somaliland authorities to stop the criminal persecution of journalists and independent media accused of publishing so-called false news and defaming president Silanyo and his close circle. 

Editors-in-chief Mohamed Mohamud Yusuf, from privately owned Foore newspaper, and Muse Farah Jambir, responsible for Ogaal newspaper, have recently been accused of publishing "false news" against the president’s family and some ministers, NUSOJ reported.

Yusuf is also accused of disturbing public order, anti-national propaganda and public incitement through fabrication following an article published in Foore in May called "Is it true that 15 to 35 per cent of what Somaliland is due to receive from Dubai Port for managing Berbera port will go to the family of Somaliland president Silanyo and their closest ministers?"

Reports said Jambir is facing trial after he was accused of defaming and smearing the president and the first lady of Somaliland by publishing allegations relating to the privatization of petroleum tanks in the port city of Berbera and the interests of Somaliland’s first family in these deals with businessmen.

Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ general secretary, said:

"We strongly protest against the judicial harassment of Somaliland journalists and independent newspapers through ongoing criminal persecution. These cases intend to censor, intimidate and silence independent media and to instil fear among journalists who dare to hold public officials to account."

Jeremy Dear, IFJ deputy general secretary, said:

"The IFJ and NUSOJ call on the national authorities to drop all charges levelled against these journalists and to ensure the protection of all reporters from unfair judicial harassment and persecution in relation to their media activities".

Tags: , somalia, national union of somali journalists, ifj, press freedom