Human Rights Centre condemns the closure of Horyaal TV station, the detention of its owner and the blocking order against Hadhwanaagnews website.
On 6th September 2019, about 5:30 pm, the police arrived at the headquarters of Horyaal Tv and ordered the staff to leave the office. In the next morning, 7th September, journalist Mohamed Osman Mire “Sayid”, the owner of Horyaal, has been arrested by the police. No court or administrative order has been shown to the management of the television, editors and journalists present at the time of the closure told Human Rights Centre.
On 8th September, Hargeisa regional court remanded Sayid seven days into police custody. No official charges are brought against the journalist and the media house.
On 5th September, Sayid was summoned by the police who interrogated him at the Criminal Investigation Department. The police asked him questions related to a television program about Khat chewing among women in Somaliland, Sayid told Human Rights Centre before he was arrested. The police believe that the program was unethical, according to Sayid.
On 3rd September 2019, Hargeisa Regional Court issued court decree ordering internet providers to block Hadhwanaagnews after the website published a news article about corruption allegations related to the governor of the Central Bank, Ali Ibrahim Jama. The governor denied the allegation. Some of the internet providers enforced the decree.
The court issued its decision upon the request of the police following a complaint submitted by the governor. The court neither heard the argument of Hadhwanaag nor asked evidence.
The closure is a violation of freedom of media guaranteed by the Constitution of Somaliland and the international human rights law.
“Within a week the government has taken steps shutting down two privately owned media houses. This is a very serious concern. It is against the constitution of Somaliland and international human rights law,” says Yasmin Omar H Mohamoud, the chairperson of Human Rights Centre.
Human Rights Centre calls on the government of Somaliland to immediately release the owner of Horyaal tv and to lift the ban from Horyaal and Hadhwanaagnews website.
“We call on the government to stop actions that undermine media to work freely without fear of intimidation and harassment,” Yasmin added.
Yasmin Omar H. Mohmoud
Chairperson of Human Rights Centre
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