An open letter to President Silanyo from Somaliland Focus (UK) on events involving Hubaal newspaper and threats to media freedom in Somaliland‏

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On 12/21/13, Hamse A. Khaire <abdeeq2005@hotmail.com> wrote:
>
>
> Date: Sat, 21 Dec 2013 09:55:50 +0000
> Subject: An open letter to President Silanyo from Somaliland Focus (UK) on
> events involving Hubaal newspaper and threats to media freedom in
> Somaliland
> From: ieosomalilandmedia@gmail.com
> To: media@somalilandfocus.org.uk; info@somalilandfocus.org.uk
>
> 20 December 2013
> This letter has been sent to President Silanyo by Somaliland Focus (UK) in
> response to recent events involving Hubaal newspaper. It follows our earlier
> letter in November on the long chain of events undermining media freedom in
> Somaliland.
>
> http://www.somalilandfocus.org.uk/
>
>
> Twitter: @SomalilandFocus
>
>
>
> H.E President Ahmed Mohamed MahamoudPresident, Republic of Somalilandcc:
> Abdullahi Mohamed Dahir, Minister of Information
>
> Hersi Ali H. Hassan, Minister of Presidential Affairs
>
>
> 20 December 2013
> Dear Mr President,
>
>
> I write as the Vice-Chair of Somaliland Focus (UK). Since 2005, Somaliland
> Focus has been making the case for wider awareness of Somaliland and its
> democratic process, acting as joint coordinators of the international
> observers to Somaliland’s elections in 2010 and 2012, and through our
> involvement with the UK All-Party Parliamentary Group for Somaliland and
> Somalia. We’ve been proud to be associated with the achievements of
> Somaliland.
>
>
> We are moved to write to you regarding concerns about media freedom in
> Somaliland, and in particular regarding recent incidents concerning Hubaal
> newspaper. We refer you to our open letter of 11 November 2013 addressed to
> your colleagues Mr Mohammed Behi Younis, Foreign Minister and Mr Abdullahi
> Mohamed Dahir, the Minister of Information.
>
>
> In that letter we expressed our concerns about a long pattern of harassment
> and intimidation of news media members in Somaliland. In particular, we
> referred to the targeting of Hubaal newspaper, which in April saw its office
> in Hargeisa attacked, with injuries to staff members. In June, publication
> was suspended after articles critical of Somaliland’s government appeared,
> and its editor-in-chief and managing director were imprisoned. The men were
> released and publication recommenced. In August you issued a presidential
> pardon of the two men, dropping all charges against them.
>
>
> We were thus distressed to hear reports that on 13 December, the paper’s
> offices were again raided by the police, apparently in response to
> unfavourable coverage, and that staff members were assaulted and arrested
> and subsequently released. The paper’s managing director has reportedly gone
> into hiding, and the paper has once again ceased publishing.
>
>
> The action follows a protest in early December by members of the media, at
> which four media members were arrested and detained for six days. The
> protest was prompted by the release of a police officer arrested following
> the April raid. The release of the officer prompted Hubaal’s managing
> director and chief editor to address an open letter to you in late November
> calling for the officer’s proper treatment before the law.
>
>
> We urge that all members of the media be released and harassment of media
> members cease forthwith, and echo the call of Hubaal’s managing director and
> chief editor that the alleged assailants in the April raid be dealt with
> properly under the law. These events, and the long chain they are part of,
> constitute a major breach of the freedom of the press, explicitly protected
> by law in Somaliland.
>
>
> We can only repeat our earlier points: targeting of the media has a chilling
> effect on the proper functioning of the media and is likely to lead to
> ineffective coverage and self-censorship. Actions against media are becoming
> a regrettable hallmark of Somaliland administrations past and present, and
> negatively affecting our ability to effectively advocate for Somaliland. We
> urge that you and other policymakers address this compromising of a vital
> democratic pillar, which in turn undermines the completion of Somaliland’s
> transition into the multi-party democracy to which you have committed
> yourselves.
>
>
> Yours faithfully,Dr Steve Kibble
>
> Vice-Chair, Somaliland Focus (UK) 



Suxufi, Saciid Khadar Cabdillaahi


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E-mail: siciid-khadar@hotmail.com
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